Not really, I have too many concepts in my head to give up writing just yet but today I wanted to talk about Endings.
Camelot 2050 has been a growing part of my life since I first came up with the concept in 2003. Approaching the end of the trilogy in 2019 has been hard, I haven’t considered giving up at any point but I’ve struggled to put words on the page over the last few months. Coming to the conclusion of a project that has been such a big part of my life for so long is, again, not easy. What has stymied me so far is a combination of factors, of course I don’t want to say goodbye to my characters. Each one of them is a combination of people I have met who have left an impact on my life and facets of my own personality, it may sound corny but I have developed an attachment to them over the years and saying ‘goodbye’ is hard.
Another factor is praise. As much as it is welcome (writers thrive on praise) for me it engenders a sense of responsibility, a duty to make each book better than the last and that heaps a ton of pressure on a creative mind. I try very hard not to second guess my impulses as long as they make narrative sense and aren’t too ‘out there’, if it’s cool, it goes in. But, with the ending of the trilogy on the line, it becomes a good deal more important to make every word count.
So, not every situation is the same but that’s mine. The thing is that every ending is important whether it’s a cliff-hanger or a finale the ending has to be narratively satisfying for the reader. I won’t name names but there was a memorable occasion (in a fantasy novel I read) where a carefully crafted story line involving two characters who had been circling each other for the whole book didn’t have the finale showdown I’d been so looking forward too and it spoiled the whole book. There had been other issues with the narrative but overall I’d been enjoying the book up to that point.
The thing is, no matter how clever the twist might be, if it denies the reader an event that has been building up all through the narrative it’s as like to turn a reader off than entertain them (and that twist, in that book wasn’t so clever hence the failure in my opinion). A good twist can be the making of a story because it’s unexpected but again, it shouldn’t rob the reader of something they’ve been looking forward too.
The outcome of a book or a series if often a given, we like to see the heroes win (even if they die in the effort) and the villains lose (especially if they die in the effort) but a story is about the journey and a journey has to have a fitting ending. In some ways a story, especially and adventure story, depends upon a certain amount of structure and just a little predictability.
So, when the outcome is (for a certain value) a given it’s how your characters arrive at that outcome that matters. What do they gain, what do they lose and how are they changed in the effort? The true ending in a story isn’t so much about what is achieved as what it means to the characters involved, what are the consequences?
For me, the consequence is going to be a lot of formatting and editing and (eventually) the start of a new novel, the effort to find a publisher, an agent and the ongoing quest to spread my stories as far as possible so that they reach the readers who will enjoy them.
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