Endings

Time to wrap it up.

Time to wrap it up.

As I work on the ending of my WIP, I’ve been scanning advice from other writers on how to wrap up your story or novel. One interesting thing I’ve found about writing advice is that a lot of it tends to get echoed. Whether that means it works or that writers are just lazy I don’t know, but let’s hope for the former, shall we?

Though his article turns out to be a giant advertorial for a book, I like the basic point Brian Klems makes at Writers Digest here: writing an ending doesn’t have to be cloaked in mystery. We’ve been writing novels for well over a hundred years, after all. Klems points out a few critical ingredients for an ending, and notes that it’s not rocket science. His most important point is that you need a plan.

One strategy that Holly Lisle suggests is to write the ending first. While I’ve never written out the whole darn thing, I have always figured out what’s going to happen at the end before starting a book. Knowing where you need to end up can be a powerful lodestone for plotting the rest of your book.

Writer Christi Craig suggests that one way to end your book might be to, well, end it earlier. I always like to cut (I tend to overwrite), and there’s a certain relief in realizing you might be done before forcing yourself to write The Official Ending. But her other bit of advice, which I like even more, is essentially to read. How do writers you admire craft their endings? How are successful writers in your genre wrapping things up at the end?

On that note, I’m going to end this post, and get back to ending my novel.

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One Response to Endings

  1. This is good advice, and I appreciate the links. One other good place for endings is Dwight Swain’s chapter, “Beginning, Middle, End,” in his Techniques of the Selling Writer. He identifies six steps to bring a story to an end and then goes on to show how to accomplish them.

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