I can’t recall if I replied to the question or not (most likely or not – but it was a while ago and I tend to forget things quite easily) but it definitely got me thinking about the whole process of coming up with an ending to a story.
It seems like such an important thing. While people often go on about how important the beginning is – and how important it is to hook in your reader from the start – the ending is the final impression people have of a story. It’s what holds everything together, and is in some ways the true test of a storyteller. I don’t know how many times I’ve finished a book and gone “wha?” because the ending just wasn’t right. Even if I’ve found myself absorbed from the beginning, if the ending is a let down, it’s going to significantly cloud my feelings about the book.
And let’s face it. Endings are difficult. With most of the stories I write, I don’t have a clue about the ending when I start writing. Even with stories that are quite planned out, like Magnus Opum or Flidderbugs, my planning doesn’t usually extend all the way to the end. And that’s not even considering the three Neville Lansdowne stories, where I’m not even sure what’s happening in the next chapter, let alone what happens right at the end. I’ve always just trusted that the further I get into the story and the more I know about the characters, the right ending will present itself. So far, my trust hasn’t been let down.
The funny thing is, the story I’m working on at the moment is the first story I’ve ever written where I had the ending before anything else. Since then, the process of writing has been figuring out how I can get the characters and the situation towards that ending. And when I finally got to it, guess what happened? I messed it up completely. Having read through my first draft, I can see that it pretty much needs to be rewritten from scratch.
That’s the thing with endings. They never quite work out the way you think they will. The main thing, I guess, is that they do work out.
Have a great week.
Posted by Jonathan Gould and tagged as