Sunday, June 13, 2010

More on endings...

Beginnings are hard but what about endings? As you write do you know how your book is going to end, or do you wing it and leave the end for well...last. When I write I have a general sense of how the book is going to end, but that sense gets thwarted oftentimes than not and it leaves me feeling lost. I realize I don't want it to end.

 
Some things to think about when getting close to wrapping things up:

  • You can oftentimes look back at your manuscript and find what I call your a-ha moments where things simply connect. Your protagonist mentions something early on that can be expanded on. Your antagonist stuck his foot in the door to leave a slight gait in his walk that is detected later. Those a-ha moments, often flows of chance, can be expanded later to great effect.
  • What is your question, your theme? Do you want to make that clear to the reader?
  • How do you want your reader to feel? What do you want them to take away from your manuscript?
  • Endings should come from some action by your characters, not acts of god or chance--unless it's an a-ha moment as listed above.
  • And...just as you wrote and rewrote and rewrote your beginning, endings deserve that same attention. Leave the reader with a strong thought or emotion.

 

11 comments:

  1. I usually change my endings four or five times before the manuscript is finished. This is a good tip.

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  2. Thanks for commenting. I too usually change my endings a few times. Glad I can help.

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  3. I often rush my endings in the first draft, feeling like after the climax has hit, I need to tie up everything quickly. The result is a too-quick finish that isn't quite as satisfying...and more revision to get it where it needs to be.

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  4. A very good point! I think I rewrite my ending more often than the first chapter - which is a LOT of rewrites! Both need to grab the reader if you want them to buy your future work.

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  5. See, I just rewrote my ending once, I think. I... umm... do something a bit dramatic as part of the climax, and I needed more of the other characters' reactions to that as part of the falling action. Other than that, I've been pretty happy with the ending. You guys are creating doubt now!! lol.

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  6. Thank goodness for alternate endings! Hey if they work on DVD's why not?

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  7. I subscribe to King's method of uncovering the plot as you would unearth dinosaur fossils.

    I usually have a good idea of the start, and *maybe* a vague idea of the direction, but I pretty much let the characters take me through the story.

    I save editing for later. I cut out the superfluous stuff and add in the important stuff.

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  8. great advice. thanks for the blogfest plug, and also for stopping by beautiful chaos.

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  9. Hi Onipar, you make it sound so easy. LOL. Thanks for stopping by.

    Hi Michelle, thanks for joining. I'm looking forward to the blogfest.

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  10. These are great thought to work through as I get close to finishing my WIP. I needed to see this stuff!

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  11. I need this stuff too. There's so much to consider. I'm still trying to find a system that works for me while revising/editing. I'll make sure to post once I find it!

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