I’m planning out my second draft of the first book in a series and I’ve come to a problem. Where do I end it? Too early and it might feel unsatisfying, but too late and there won’t be much point in making it a series, and I want at least three books. Basically what I have is the inciting incident, and a midpoint climax, then the aftermath of that, but I still need a climax for the end. This is the basic simplified outline for context.
The first synthetic prototype (the MC) is created. The co-creator of him is fired from the project for ethical reasons. More synthetics are created and marketed.
The co-creator who was fired wants revenge by getting the original code for synthetics so he can reproduce it. He steals the first prototype and dismantles him to try and get the code. He doesn’t find what he’s after before the MC escapes with the co-creator’s personal synthetic (who was bought and deemed not as good as the original by the co-creator), who takes him back to the lab he was made in so his original creator can repair him.
The co-creator goes to prison for what he did and the MC moves on with his life. He is purposed to join another project meant to send humans into space to colonize a new planet (Earth is dying, war, limited resources, etc.) as help for the humans aboard the ship. He goes to the training center and meets the crew.
Now, what I’m wondering here is if I should leave it off with him about to go to space, quite literally ending the book with the launch countdown. Or, if I should keep going a little further and find a better climax to end the book off on. At some point I plan on the ship sustaining damage and having to land on an uninhabited but still hostile planet because of the environmental factors. Should I go until they make that emergency landing and end it there, on a more dramatic cliffhanger where the reader doesn’t know if they survive the harsh environment of the planet they basically crashed on? Or would the launch be just as good a cliffhanger to end it on for the next book? That way I can use the crash as the midpoint climax for the next book. I need advice on what would be better.