The End

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No, I haven’t finished the novel yet, although I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s getting bigger and brighter by the day. But today, I woke up with words flowing through my head. That happens to me a lot, I wake up with a story running along all by itself. It makes me wonder if I’m actually the writer, or if there’s some other entity doing all the work who, once in a while, interrupts my sleep and forces me to put it to paper.
For some, starting a story is the difficult part. Putting those first words down on the page. For some, it’s all the middle stuff. Making sure point A connects to point B. For me, the hardest part is always the end. Generally when I start a story, I have no clue what the ending will be. It’s somewhat unnerving to start writing not knowing where it’s going when the story starts telling itself. I’ve made the joke several times that I just take transcription for the voices in my head, but often that’s exactly what it feels like.
Even when I finally get an idea of what the ending should be, writing it is the most difficult part of the process for me. Once I’ve built up all the drama, bringing it to a conclusion that brings the reader back down without leaving them feel disappointed is an incredibly difficult thing. I’ve known the ending of my novel for a while now, but had no idea how to tell it with just the right amount of tension, emotion, and completion to leave the reader feeling satisfied.
As a reader, the ending can make or break a story for me. I can be totally entranced by a book, but if the ending doesn’t deliver, it frustrates me. The ending is the last thing the reader is left with. To me, it’s critical to make it memorable. Unfortunately, the ending is also generally the most controversial. Some love “happily ever after” endings, some hate them, some like the story to hang, without a clear ending, others not. No matter what ending you come up with, there will be people who will sing its praises and some who will criticize every word.
I’ve talked about J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter before. The epilogue is probably the most controversial part of the seven books. Harry Potter fans are divided, some loved it, some hated it. I myself liked it. I didn’t love it. Not because I didn’t like the way the story ended, just the way it was written. I like it enough, and it’s grown on me some since I first read it, but I felt it could have been stronger. I give Jo kudos though. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to wrap up seven books of storyline.
One of my other favorite children’s/young adult authors, D.J. MacHale, had to wrap up ten books and years of the main character’s life in his Pendragon series. I actually sent him a message to tell him I thought it was the best ending I’ve ever read. I have read other reviews from readers who hated it. To me it was perfect.
So I guess in the end, the end has to be what the writer feels is necessary. We just have to hope that not too many people are disappointed. I’m hoping there’s some fate that’s telling me that the ending I wrote is the right one. An hour after I woke up with my ending in my head, my husband awoke to tell me he’d just had the weirdest dream. He dreamed that I finally came to the end of my book. If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is.
The End.

2 thoughts on “The End

  1. I feel your pain, only in reverse. Usually my endings write themselves, but they're not always what was set up at the beginning. So I have go back and do more work up front.OTOH, I'm always pleasantly surprised at how much IS there at the beginning that actually does lead to the ending I ended up with. Stuff I wrote and didn't realize why at the time. So, yeah…maybe we're transcribing things that come through us from the cosmos. Which is awesome.


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