Thursday, March 29, 2012

Writing Endings Part 2

Post by Dylan

Here is part two of my mini series on how not to write endings. For those of you who did not tune in last time, you should go back and check it out. There it is explained how I have thus far written horrible endings and want that to change. I want all of you who read The Writing Bug to not suffer from the same mistakes I made. So please, read the first two tips, if you have not already.

The third point is that you should not, whatever you do, sell your ending short. This ties in with the second point I made. If you have promises that you have constructed previously, deliver on them. Trust me, I now know how long endings take if you want to tie every single little thing you built up into a nice and tidy bow. If you need to have a one-hundred page ending, do it. But, whatever you do, do not sell yourself short. If your story is longer than you expected, oh well, that is what editing is for, but at least you have everything written out so you know what you are dealing with.

My fourth and final point actually has to do with falling action. Even though, delivering in the climax is arguably the most important part of the ending, I also believe having the appropriate amount of falling action is also important. In my past two novels I think I had a whopping four pages of falling action. Make sure that there is a bit of recovery after your powerful ending in a manuscript. Falling action can make the ending pack an even stronger punch. You know those books where the last line gives you chills? Well, that is falling action done right. If you do not have enough falling action--or too much--the ending will not knock the reader off their feet like you plan. So calculate how much time you need for your character to somewhat recover from the events that occurred in the climax. You know you’ve done this right when you want to keep writing even when you type the words ‘the end.’

That’s it for my tips on endings. I hope you enjoyed hearing about my previous blunders and don’t make similar ones, because trust me it’s frustrating. So, I wish you all the best on your short stories, poem, novellas, novels...especially your endings!

Did you feel like this advice helped at all?


Patricia Stoltey said...

Endings are especially fun for writers of crime fiction, Dylan. The old drawn out denouement in the drawing room so popular many years ago doesn't work so well anymore. Now it's a challenge to wrap up the story in tight prose so the reader isn't bored to tears by pages and pages of the sleuth analyzing and explaining.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Great tips! I'm a pantster, but I have my endings planned out in advance. I might not always know how I'm going to get there, but I know what has to happen.

That's not to say it won't change. In my upcoming novel, the ending is so not what I'd planned in the beginning. But it came to me one day in the shower and I was shouting Eureka just like that guy with the bathtub. (What was his name?)

Dylan Book Reader said...

Patricia: I can only imagine how fun endings are for crime fiction writers. Especially with what you said on how the endings and readers' tastes have changed so drastically.
Dianne: I myself am an outliner, but I do so pretty loosely and then do a more in depth outline from a certain event to the end of the novel. However, I have definitely chanegd my endings around by getting those similar Eureka moments!

Both Sides of the Dream said...

Thanks for the tips! I'm not a pantster, so I have everything planned out ahead of time. Lots of planning goes into the end!

Both Sides of the Dream said...
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