Thursday, March 3, 2011

The End

Writing the end of a book can be a lot of things.  Easy.  Hard.  Daunting.  Terrifying.  Exhilarating.  Sad.  Exciting.  Some mixture of these or other things.  The end of a book can bring closure, or it can leave you hanging--either because it was the author's intention to leave some things open for your interpretation or for thought, or because you're working on a sequel and you need something to carry you over to the next book.

I have a novel that I've been writing for over a year now.  It was originally supposed to be one book, but it got a bit too long and so now I'm writing two books.  This is fine and dandy, except I have reached The End of the first book.

I've not yet written The End.  I've reached the last chapter, which means I have to write an ending.  I have been struggling with how best to do this for the past couple of days.  Every time I write something for the last chapter, it doesn't quite have the effect I want it to have.  Nothing quite clicks, nothing quite works.  If this book could have a happy ending, I would be all set, but alas, I am in that precarious place where I need to have some closure, yet have something drastic happen so that people will (hopefully) want to read the sequel.

I have considered many things.  Character deaths!  Kidnappings!  Assassinations! 

Except nothing seems to work.

I could go with a much calmer ending--just give the characters a little nudge on their way, except I kind of want this to go out with a bang.  (This is not necessarily a metaphor: I have considered explosions, too.)

There are a lot of emotions that go into finishing a book.  Part of me will be very relieved when this story is done and I can write the sequel.  A sequel means exploring new paths, digging deeper into the characters, discovering that those characters have plans I've not yet uncovered.  (And when I object to their plans, they will ignore me and do whatever they darn well please anyway.)  It means jumping into the new unknown.

It means jumping into the unknown.  O_O

For me, this is exhilarating and terrifying.  I have to let go of a book that has been more work than anything I have ever written in my life.  I have to walk from a plot that has been smoothed over a million times* into a plot that is going to be messy and unpredictable.  I will have familiar characters to help me along the way, but it will still be work.  Hard, hard work.

*this might be a slight exaggeration

At this moment, I want more than anything to have this book finished.  I want The End, and I want it to help me start my next book.  I just wish I knew how to best do that.  Finish one book satisfactorily and build a bridge to the second book--it's not a lot to ask, right?



  1. I do not believe FOR A MINUTE that you actually seriously considered killing any of them off. :)

  2. Also, are there any orphanages handy?

  3. @Emily Kate Johnston

    This book has done weird things to me. O_O It's making me write (and contemplate writing) a lot of things that I never would have written before.

  4. I can totally relate to the feeling of leaving behind a completed story line and walking toward a developing plot that's often shady. It can be really intimidating! Maybe that's how Tolkien was feeling when he had Sam and Frodo leave the Shire. The writing itself can be just as adventurous as the story :)

  5. @Joanne Bischof I love the comparison of Frodo and Sam leaving the Shire. :D But yes, that's exactly how I'm feeling. It's exciting and I can't wait to see what the characters do next, but at the same time, I worked so hard to craft the plot of this book and it's a little daunting to go back to the "I have no idea what I'm doing" phase. ;) Usually I just find it exciting.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!