Talking about endings last week, of course, made me think of mine. Originally my novel was going to have a, well, what most people would refer to as a sad ending. A large part of my novel is Paul trying to make his wife, Anna, fall in love with him. In the original idea she wasn't going to change, but stay unresponsive and uncaring. The story was going to be Paul learning to live with his disappointment and loneliness. There are so many options, does he leave her and find someone who loves him as he deserves? Does he stay faithful to his marriage vow but turn bitter and angry? Can he forgive Anna? I still get excited thinking of that story. But as I delved deeper into the story I realized I wasn't writing the story I thought I was. As I understand it this happens a lot to writers.
As the story currently stands there is a happy ending, but it isn't really the end as I've already started a sequel (thank you NaNo). But it has an ending that could leave the book as a standalone novel. I'm happy with this ending because it fits this story. Though I have found I need to walk a careful line between happy and sappy, closure and a never ending novel.
Do any of you write series or sequels? Do you leave the ending as a cliff hanger or make each book so it could be a standalone novel? Which do you like to read?