Have you ever read a really good story which begins with a cataclysmic event? The story unfolds in great character development, action scenes, revelations of plot and character until you grasp the edge of your seat to find out the resolution? All of a sudden the book ends with Character A waking from a dream, or coming out of a coma? Worse when all is lost and our heroes and heroines are about to perish...in fly the eagles?
Frustrating at the least. Reader betraying at the worst.
Consider before you write your characters into a corner that needs large winged rescuers to save them, that you're not playing fair. A story line with great development and even ending in the death or permanent disability of a main character needs to happen in order not to deflate your reader and lose your credibility as an author.
I read a wonderful story about a young woman who goes blind. A small part of me wished she'd wake up from a horrible nightmare, be a better person from the experience, and then go back to being sighted.
I realized, because I read a story with a wake-up ending, that I feel ripped off by this kind of plot turn.
Bad things happen to good people. Disaster strikes and disease steals a planned future only to replace it with another different and better one. Pretending this is not a fact of life gives a disingenuous feel to an otherwise great story.
Making a story deep, complex, dangerous and deadly only to wrap everything up with an out-of-this-world rescue gives your reader the feeling that the story never needed to happen. The author just dragged you through 300 or more pages of gut wrenching action to say..."Never mind."
When plotting or planning a story, make sure your playing fair with your reader. If a character needs to die, even a character you've developed through 7 or more books...Kill Him!
If your characters end up disabled or diseased but better for the journey...Its Not A Dream!
When the ring is thrown into the mountain and our heroes are drifting in a river of lava to their demise...Let Them Go!
It will hurt a little, but you'll be a better writer with a readership that trusts you because you always played fair.
Keep your chin up, your story's coming and keep writing.