To badly paraphrase Bob Geldof or indeed Frank Sinatra (…and now the end is nigh..) today I want to talk about endings. This is an important bit for me as one of my pet hates in so many novels I have read is their lame ass ending. I have lost count of the books that start out brilliantly, set up a great premise/story/world view and then balls it up at the end. I have a couple of theories about this which are…..
Firstly, the writer gets bored with their own story. Initially they were fired up with the idea and characters, then they literally just lost the plot or will to live or never thought it through and just rushed off the first thing that came into their head so they could put it to bed or meet their publishers deadline.
Or, it was the editor wot done it. No author can be trusted to edit themselves. They need an editor to cut through the verbose crap (or as we authors like to call it, inspiration) to make the story work. Sometimes this means cutting the word count, and it may be just me, but they seem to do it at the end. The novel ends abruptly without a satisfying dénouement. Characters just drift off and the reader is left hanging.
Now this issue is a particularly tricky one for me as I am writing a trilogy. The stories are related, take part in the same universe, share some consistent characters, but will be set at different times. So how to end the novel? The challenges are…
1 Complete the individual story arc for this novel in a satisfying way that does not short change the reader.
2. Leave some issues clearly unresolved as a lead in to the next book and ,hopefully, whet the readers appetite to stick with me.
3. Leave the characters in a state that allows for their satisfaction, frustration and mind set to be both plausible and realistic. In other words they have reached the end of this road, but it is clear they have much further to go both in terms of experiences and personal development. Just like real life in fact.
Needless to say I have not resolved all these issues yet, but they are a constant dynamic in my mind, and as I type this I have numerous ideas about how and when to finish the book.
In other news the word count is now above 100k. Yay! I know it is an arbitrary number but it feels significant so Yay! again. We have celebrated this moment together. I hope you feel as moved as I was when it happened (not)
See you out there.