Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy Endings (?)

How does one create the perfect (or best) finish to a book?

At the moment I'm struggling with this problem in my writing. Writers often worry about the "hook" at the beginning of a novel, or live in dread of the "sagging" middle section. Neither of these issues have dogged me, but finding the right way to tie everything together and send the story on its merry way has become a nagging question.

Part of the problem derives from the fact that my novel is the first in a series. Therefore the crisis at hand becomes my ability to wrap up the tension and key problems of the first book in a satisfying way (for both the reader and myself), while simultaneously opening the door to the second book. I know what's going to happen in the next books, I'm already deeply invested in the plot and character developments that occur AFTER the conclusion of the first book.

So how can I then make sure the first book ends in such a way that editors are convinced it not only has a life of its own, but also begs for a follow up? Since so many best-sellers are series I know this achievement is possible. I also remind myself of the way that The Empire Strikes Back leaves so many questions unanswered, but is far and away my favorite of the Star Wars trilogy. And features this epic-win romantic dialogue:

How do you bring your writing to the finish line. What are the key components of a truly good ending?

1 comment:

  1. Uh...I wish I knew the components for a really good ending. When I'm reading, I like to feel satisfied. Even if the story isn't over, the main conflict has been solved, and for now, the MC can take a deep breath before the next "storm" (book 2).

    I don't like books that end in the middle of a scene (Uglies comes to mind) or just sort of end without any resolution whatsoever.

    And that's as close as I can come. If you find the answer, let me know!