Monday, January 31, 2011

When to End a Book or Story

How do you know when you've reached the end? Do you look for that perfect, sum-up sentence? Do you just get a feeling it's finished?

When I write a story, I usually know when the end will come and what it will be in the first few chapters. The end may change, but basically the same thing will happen. I tend to write more along the lines of finishing when it feels done. When all the ends have been tied up. When my characters quit bugging me to complete their tales. When I feel like they are satisfied that I have explained their story.

Characters and story go hand-in-hand, but I tend to listen to my characters when deciding when a story is finished. It's almost as though I can hear them complain that I forgot something or that they are not quite done talking. I have many half-finished manuscripts and each time I read over them or work on them, the characters start whispering in my ear again, telling me where they want me to go with the story. I write until the characters have met a logical, if not fantastical, end.


Nicole MacDonald said...

Well I have a plot but the characters still do it their way :) It's always surprising to see how it ends up

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Cherie Reich said...

Great post, Lisa!

I often have the end or part of the end in my head near the beginning of the idea process. I do allow room for it to change and such. For me, the problem comes from the middle of the writing. I know the end and the beginning, but that middle can be difficult. :)

Aubrie said...

Great topic!

I have the end in mind as well, but sometimes the late middle seems fuzzy to me: how do they reach that end?

I love wrapping everything up, though. It feels so good!

Christine said...

Oh, I do like this topic! My characters are very definite on where they want a story to end, too. There are a few times I have problems because I want the story to keep going. Worlds keep going on in my head even if the story itself is over. Also, like Aubrie, I sometimes hit that bump right near the end. I know how it's going to end, but how do I defeat this powerful villain in a way that is clever and believable?

Hannah Kincade said...

I usually have an end in mind but the finer deets usually get hammered out when I'm actually writing. And this I'm speaking of in terms of short stories, as I do not have a finished manscript.