Thursday, July 17, 2014

Endings




Since yesterday's post centered on beginnings, so it seemed fitting to talk about endings today. Finishing a project brings mixed emotions. Elation, of course. But it might also make a writer feel a bit sad.

The characters they'd been living with are suddenly out of the picture. If it's a novel, the writer has been in touch with these people for a long time. Maybe he's happy to finally have them out oif his hair but he just might start wondering how they're doing. Anyone who has written fiction knows that the characters feel like real people.

I think a writer needs a little time between the ending of one writng project and the beginning of another. We're just not ready to jump in and begin again immediately. Don't wait too long, though. Delaying a new project becomes easier and easier as time goes on. So give yourself a moderate amount of time and then get moving.

We end entire projects but we also have to end individual pieces of writing. Whether it's a short story, a novel, a personal essay, a how-to article or a poem--it needs a proper ending. It is just as important as the opening hook. Maybe more because it's the final impression you leave with your readers.

Have you ever read a book that you really enjoyed until the end because the end fell flat? There was no satisfaction for the reader. There may not have been a pulling together of all the rest of what had been written. I've occasionally read a book that leaves me with more questions than answers at the end.

Many writers try to use what is said at the beginning to bring the piece full cirlce at the end. That's one technique but not the only one. Some like to give the reader a surprise, even a shock, at the conclusion.

One of the best books on writing that I've read is written by Nancy Kress and is part of the Writer's Digest series. The title is Beginnings, Middles and Ends  Click on the title for the Amazon page on this highly rated book. I noticed this is a newer edition than the one I read quite some years ago. Looks like maybe I should check into this newer one.

Today, I've mentioned two types of endings. The one where you finish an entire writing project, ready to move on to the next one and the actual ending section of whatever it is you're writing.

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