Friday, February 5, 2010

The End Is Near

I decided today would be "the end" because this date is significant to me. Yet, I sit here and wish I had said more about character development, dialogue, plot and sub-plots, arcs and so many other writing elements I learned at uni and from peers (books, blogs, and my cherished beta readers).

The end comes and shouldn't be prolonged beyond its time. Don't put your story on life support, let it go to resonate in the minds of the readers long after they have read it.

I should add, don't rush the end. Don't leave your readers still hungry for the resolutions left unwritten.

So the end comes. It is short in comparison to the middle, yet it has always been the goal. If you think of a bell curve in statistics, the beginning and end are the outward edges. The middle is the swollen part between them.

Whether the story is "a day in the life" twenty-four hours in a rapid paced adventure of espionage or the saga of a western frontier family, the end is the curtain call. First you finish up with the minor characters, then the next prominent, then the main character and the antagonist. They hold hands and bow. The stage darkens. The curtain closes. Those who 'got' the story sit as the house lights come on and others begin to leave.

They are satisfied. It will be a least a day or more before they pick up their next book and begin the adventure between the covers.

What have you done? You have resolved everything you've mentioned throughout the story. You've used every prop the prop master set on the stage. One by one, each character's quest has been resolved and has helped to carry the main character to their resolution. The music (pace) has been perfect. Every line delivered as intended.

You type, "THE END" and sit back; satisfied, complete as your readers will feel too.


  1. I can't wait until I actually get to that point ... I'm not much good at finishing! Nice post, thank you.


  2. You wrote, quite some time ago now,'The beginning of a story is actually quite short. It is important because of its role to engage the reader (and literary agent or editor) and make them crave more.' I assume that not many agents read the end of a novel first (maybe they do?)but I believe the end of a novel to be as important as the beginning. The end is the opportunity for the author to make the reader go 'wow, must read some more of hers/his. You use the example of Tale of Two Cities as a beginning and the final lines are superb - 'It is a far better thing that I do than I have ever done, it is a far far better place that I go than I have ever been.'
    The blockbuster (lol) 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' has a great ending, made me want to buy the next one and I didn't enjoy the novel particularly.
    Endings are important to me in my own work. They are too long to quote from two of my novels but feel free to buy them! But I dislike the finish to a book where everything is tied up nicely, rather like some American corny serials...

  3. Corny Americans? Sometimes you make me giggle. I alluded to the 'wow' factor (the reader delays their next read while still under the spell of your book), but you are good to come right out and say it, Glyn. The end has to be satisfying. The reader can't feel they wasted their time reading the book. Readers are great critics. They are honest about whether the book was enjoyable.

    In the end of Storm Surge, Karen's sub-plot is finished, but it isn't the end she wanted. And that book Kathryn has with her finishes something, but is a prop left on the 'stage' for the reader to play with after they close my book.

    As far as agents getting to the end of a requested ms, they probably do more than we think. For one thing, they only request mss that have piqued their interest.

  4. 1.'Corny Americans' - I didn't make it clear. I was referring to some of those awful American dramas where everything ends up perfectly.
    2. I had intended saying as well, thank you for doing this blog on writing a novel. Learnt a lot, made me think and always good to read others responses.
    Nadine your are a star and not at all corny!

  5. Oh Glyn, I don't mind being corny.

    Yes, I love the comment section best on my blog. I love the input and feedback.

    Maybe we could use my wall on (link button on the bottom right) for everyone to leave tips and tricks they want to share. No one person knows everything and everyone knows something.

    I think of things I forget to mention. We are working on the page on my website for me to refine this posts and make something more user friendly for interested writers, but the exchange on the wall would be nice, I think.

    BTW, you are a good writer, Glyn. I enjoyed your ms very much.