Monday, 12 March 2012

A Thought about Endings


For the last few weeks I thought that I was close to writing the last scene of The Jeweller's Daughter. Today, I still haven't finished it. And it is not for laziness. I have been writing between 1,500 to 3,000 words a day for 5-6 days a week. What happened, was that I seriously underestimated writing the end.

Some time ago I realised that the last few chapters were probably the most important, and would be the part of the novel that would leave the reader with the biggest impact. I came to this conclusion after reading so many reader reviews on Amazon, and getting the impression that their star ratings were often dependent on what the reader was left with at the end - the feeling, the thoughts, the satisfaction, the turmoil, the disappointment, the joy. When the reader was disappointed at the end, they seemed to give low star ratings.

Whilst beginnings are important for the purchase decision of a book, and the middle is important to keep the reader sustained in anticipation of better things to come, the end is the pinnacle of expectation.

As a reader, I feel that a poor ending, a poor last few chapters causes many poor reviews. Readers don't like writers to rush the end, or to leave it too predictable without enough twists and turns to what is a predictable end. They want the writer to be the writer, and not leave it up to the reader to have to anticipate too much of what is to come. i.e. doing the writer's work for them.

Oddly enough, I think that a slow and disappointing beginning can be changed with a good, and substantial ending. Even a drawn out one where the twists exceed the reader's expectations. And clever. The reader is impressed by the clever writer who writes something they would have never anticipated.

So I have come to the conclusion that when I thought I had come close to the end - another two or three scenes to go, that I was wrong. But learning is lovely! It has taken me weeks of extra writing to come to the point again where I think I have another 2 or 3 scenes. I hope I'm not wrong this time! I thought my novel would end at 70,000 words. But today it is at 105,156 words, and still not finished.

The characters speak. This can be a problem too. Although I like to give them a voice and the freedom of expression, they can take privileges. But in my view, the privilege is theirs. However, when they behave in an unpredictable manner, and I am unable to stop them, all I can do is follow them, which makes the story and the twists even longer.

I hope that my characters have enough life and personality by the end of the book to go the way that will take the reader to places unexpected, as they do to me. And in the last few weeks this has happened many times. I'm hoping it will soon come to an end and the novel will also come to its natural ending. If not, I will have to take a firm hand and put a stop to it.

Now I must get back to work.

Was lovely of you to drop by!

Don't forget to leave me a comment! x

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