Sunday, April 11, 2010

Endings-are we there yet?


I deleted my last post because I've come to an end. The ending of my story, that is. A week ago, as I neared the last 5000 or so words, I wished I had started my book with an ending and worked the other way.

Endings are tough.

So I was pleased to read a link from a well-known author who said that endings are harder to write that the beginning hooks.

I have to agree. So now I know I'm not the only one waiting and wondering about the best way to tie my work all together.

But I've learned one thing. You can't rush endings. They need to develop slowly and purposely so that I satisfy the reader.

I finished reading The Time Traveler's Wife yesterday. I persevered until I was rewarded with the ending. But the ending wasn't a prize for me. It was predictable. Yes, a little feel good, but mostly a let down.

Not looking for that in my book.

So how about you? How do you put together the best ending ever for your stories?

27 comments:

Julie Jarnagin said...

I usually think I know how my stories will end, but they change before I get there. I write romance - so the guy and the girl are going to end up together. Therefore, the challenge is to give the ending some unexpected twist that will leave a reader wanting to read my next book.

Amy Tate said...

As a reader and a writer, I look for an ending that brings realistic closure. If it's too sappy it turns me off. Life doesn't work that way. But if everyone dies at the end, I'm let down and that's a turn off too. There's a fine balance. One of the best films that tickled me to death was the Sixth Sense. It was a perfect ending that completely blew me away. Now THAT'S a story!

Jan Cline said...

To be honest...I have much less trouble with endings than I do beginnings. I think maybe that comes from watching sooooo many classic movies. Since I was a teenager, I made a game of guessing the endings of the movies I watched. Got pretty good at predicting the story line and the ending.

Karen Lange said...

For me, it depends on the stories. Some are easier to write than others. If I get stuck on an ending can I call you? :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

As a pantser, I know my beginning, end, and a few details. How I get from one to the other is an adventure rivaling a rollercoaster ride.

I like it when I think the ride is over, and the coaster keeps going.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Katie Ganshert said...

You are NOT alone. I really struggle with endings. I want them to be perfect....and that's hard to make them perfect, yet not predictable, especially since I write romance, and well, romance is pretty predictable! I usually tinker with the ending until I just can't look at it anymore. :)

Sassy Granny ... said...

From one who considers herself a literary novice, I must say all of my stories (or visions) begin with the end in mind. I move towards that which I hope will happen, or dream will come about.

I suppose it's no secret, then, that all of my stories have happy endings.

The other thing I know is that, apart from death, there never really is a true "ending".

Blessings,
Kathleen

Lin Floyd said...

i write short articles that don't really have endings they are just episodes or vignettes.

Heidi Willis said...

Congrats on getting so close to your end! I'm sure you'll wake up in the middle of the night with the perfect way to wrap it up. :)

I tend to write my ends first. That way I know where I am going. Otherwise, I find myself wandering in the writing. Still, I think I'm probably predictable, and I hope readers will stick with it for the ride.

Susan R. Mills said...

I'm rewriting my ending now. It's so, so, so hard!

Gaia said...

Here I am trying to put together a good ending to my Life Story. Haha wish I could just write it and really make it happen!

sanjeet said...

like it when I think the ride is over, and the coaster keeps going.
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Wendy Paine Miller said...

The ending for #3 felt very fluid and natural. I loved when it came to me and spilled on the page. And actually, oddly enough, the ending for #4 was my first thought of the book. It's where the idea came from.

~ Wendy

Tamika: said...

The ending is just as powerful as the beginning. You want your reader to be anxious to pick up your next book. Scary stuff!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Endings are tough!
But for my genre, I aim for a definite "feel-good" happily ever after. :)

Congrats on finishing!!!

T. Anne said...

I'm coming near the ending to my WIP and I'm trying to not let it be predictable but I'm finding it unavoidable. =(

Jessica Nelson said...

I def. understand wanting to make an ending awesome. My endings aren't always hard or well-thought out, but I am always aware that it needs to be good and satisfying.

patti said...

Oh, Terri, I just had to rewrite the ending for my third book and am still waiting on the editor's comments.

So better ask me in a couple of weeks.

Was it hard???OOOOHHHHHH yes.

Analisa said...

The book I have worked on has a beginning middle and end. I knew early how it would end. The hard part for me is adding the meat to the bones of the story. I could sit and tell you the book in a few minutes, but making that reading process take days or week is the work of writing. Trust your instincts.

Oh sorry u were let down by TTwife. I loved that book and the ending i found bittersweet. With a good book I am just sad it is over.

Jill Kemerer said...

With a happily-ever-after, of course! Congrats, Terri!

paulgreci said...

I hope the endings that I craft are not only about closure but hint at a new beginning for the MC, the feeling of moving forward, not necessarily as a sequel, just as an individual. That said, I do struggle with them and find them one of the most difficult parts of the writing process.

Yolanda said...

Terri, I think of the ending we find in the Word of God....amazing for those of us in Christ.

I can't imagine having to write an entire book, coming up with the beginning, the middle and the ending. ;-)

I also like the new look here on your blog!

Lovingly,
Yolanda

Heckety said...

No help to you because I've just never written an ending I was totally content with. But I agree that thinking about it and letting it all slowly filter through is good.But not over-think it- that's what I do...
And anyway- well done yourself for reaching this point, especially with all the head stuff you've been dealing with. I think you are doing great!

Lloyd said...

What an uplifting and inspirational blog. When I write about God's Word, I like to conclude with a life application for others. God bless, Lloyd

Nancy said...

My storis usually have logical conclusions. When I get there, I try to say something clever. I do try to make sure I have pulled everything together.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Recently, I finished my current 50,000 WIP. The last 5000 words were much harder than the first. Keep in mind, I'm not writing fiction, so I had it a bit easier. Mine were selected reflections, but all revolving around a central theme. I tried to be mindful of that theme throughout, but like you, had to wait for my end. I didn't want to rush things. I'm well pleased with the finish but still feel I have work to do.

FYI... I hated that movie, (time traveler's wife); hope the book was better for you. I just didn't get it.

peace~elaine

Nehha said...

All write ups have ending, may it be an article, a short story or whatever and I have to deal with the climax mostly...the ending is not that much of a concern.