Wednesday, September 21, 2011

When the Ending is not the End

Yesterday I wrote a new ending to Afterworld, the manuscript I'd been working on for most of the summer. This isn't the first time I've been asked to revise an ending. In fact, it's the fourth novel in a row that I've written a second ending (though once I went with the original in the end). It's not that I'm bad at writing them. As a mater of fact, I kind of pride myself on endings. My problem is that the story never truly ends in my head, therefor in my first attempt, I can usually feel myself fighting against putting an end to it. But eventually I accept it and once that happens, I'm able to close the story properly.

The scene I wrote yesterday was a little different. I didn't rewrite the ending. I added another chapter, a scene further along in the story. It was a scene I had in my head since about half way through the first draft. I had pictured it as the opening of a sequel if one were ever to come. But after a lot of thought, I realized that rather than an opening, it was the perfect conclusion.

A good ending, like a good beginning, leaves the reader with a sense of who the character is at that particular moment. I've never cared for the summary approach. The reader was on the journey with the character, they don't need to hear it again. I prefer books that leave the reader with an impression of what is to come with only a slight reminder of what has been. And I'm happy to say that I honestly believe the chapter I wrote yesterday is one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever written.


  1. I was looking at a modern sequel to Pride and Prejudice the other day. Do we want to know what happens next or will e-books mean that plots may go on for ever ? - both from the author and fans.

  2. I wouldn't be so opposed. I certainly love epic storytelling. As long as there is still editorial.