Thursday, 11 July 2013

The ending

I'm, once again, getting to the end of my novel. I've been redrafting a novel I first completed over a year ago. When I got to the end that first time, it wasn't as dramatic/amazing/perfect as I'd hoped.

I knew it needed more than just an edit, so I typed the whole thing up again from scratch, which helped because I've added a few scenes that have helped with the flow of the story and moved some chapters around.

But, with only about fifteen pages of the story left, I still haven't found my perfect ending. (By the way, fifteen pages for me is like fifty or sixty for you guys - there's still a lot of story to tell.) I'd hoped, once I got into the heads of the characters again the solution would be obvious. But it isn't.

People who read this novel in its last incarnation said the ending was good, perfectly fine... so maybe I should be happy with that. But there's just a part of me that wants to write something brilliant.

Do you sometimes know you can do better, but you're not sure how?
How do you overcome this?


35 comments:

  1. I re-wrote a novel from scratch before.
    Maybe get the opinion of one more person? Or discuss it with someone who brainstorms well?

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    1. Yes, I think another reader would be useful.

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  2. Endings are rough. I still haven't figured out mine, but I'm not quite there yet. I think if you feel it isn't right, then it probably isn't. Other people won't know your story as well as you do--even if they enjoyed the ending, they might not be able to see what's missing.

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  3. I'm not the best at brainstorming, so I find that talking with someone who is really helps me. Good luck!

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    1. I usually find banging my head against a wall works, but not in this case :-)

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  4. Maybe you need a little more time and/or space away from the project? I also find that it sometimes helps to brainstorm a number of different scenarios then pick the least obvious. This way, it still works in terms of motivations etc but also comes as a bit of a surprise to the reader.

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    1. I've had a year away... I thought that was enough! I know what has to happen, it's more the execution that's flooring me.

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  5. Every time I write something I feel like it could be better, more eloquent, deeper, richer. Bah-- it's maddening. I love how you are giving such thought to this process.

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    1. Yep, that's exactly how I'm feeling at the moment. I couldn't imagine writing any other way, Julie.

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  6. I know exactly what you mean. It's easy to find ideas to end a story, but to find that one perfect idea, that's something entirely different. I'm currently stuck in the middle of a novel. I know that everything will fall into place eventually, but meanwhile it's frustrating :)

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    1. Like I said in one of the comments above, I know what I what to do, but I'm struggling to make it work. I thought I had in the draft people read, but no one got what I wanted them to get :-)

      PS. I still can't visit your blog :-(

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  7. Hi Annalisa .. I struggle with blog posts sometimes .. and need to remember to tie all the ends together .. I guess you have to get a beta reader or friend to check it out for you ..

    Good luck and well done on the process of finishing the novel off .. cheers Hilary

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    1. My problem with beta readers is I want it to be perfect before ANYONE reads it :-)

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  8. I totally get what you're saying. My next book is waiting at the publisher for the editor to start, but as it sits there...I can't help but be called to a few chapters that need tweaking...okay, they need an over-haul. Early betas say I'm crazy, so I sent the manny with my concerns to a few writer friends and they agreed and offered up some solutions. Now I must fix so editor can start.

    You ever want my two cents worth of input, you have my email...I'd be happy to help!

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    1. Perfectionism can be a curse, but in writing I think it's a bonus. Thanks for the offer of reading it - but it's so different from anything you've read from me before, I'm scared to show it off to you!

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  9. take a nap. As you fall asleep, have the paragraph in your head on where you want to leap to brilliance. It can be done. Or, I bet what you have is darn good and you are being too self critical. Good luck.

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    1. Oh yes, the falling asleep thing really does help, doesn't it? I might try that tonight.

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  10. I feel like this all the time. For me, I always see the ending first, before I have started with the book. I know how it ends, it is the start that is always the trickiest for me. But give it some time, that perfect ending will come to you when you least expect it. The writing muse can be tricky like that. Good-luck with completion of your novel. I know you will make it all work. You are just brilliant like that.

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    1. I know what I want to say, I'm just having a hard time saying it... great writer I am lol!! Knowing the ending is a great way to start a novel.

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  11. My suggestion is that you take a break then get back to your novel full force.

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    1. I'm afraid if I take another break I'll lose the voice again. It's been coming and going during this draft :-(

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  12. I love hearing feedback from my CPs who I trust with my LIFE!
    That always helps. I totally lose perspective on my own stuff.
    ~Just Jill

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    1. Losing perspective is easy to do when you've been working on something for so long, isn't it?

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  13. Maybe play with it a bit. Like, try your hand at writing a completely wrong ending (not bad, just wrong). Interview one (or more) of your characters about what outcome(s) they want vs what outcome(s) they expect. If you like to sketch/paint, mess around with some charcoal or watercolors and lay out splotches that "feel" like a resolution to the story. Describe the location in which you think the ending will occur - where is it, what's it look like, is it hot there (do they have chocolate there???)? Try writing an ending from a completely different point of view - maybe from that of a minor character, a dead character, or a complete stranger to the scene. How would a five-year-old describe the situation? A 10-year-old? A teen? An octogenarian? If the characters were animals, what animals would they be and how would the story play out?

    I think, though, *you* need to feel the ending is right. Chatting it over with folks is good, it may jar something into clarity for you, but ultimately, it's your baby.
    Some Dark Romantic

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    1. Wow, there are some great suggestions here Mina. I wish I was arty enough to be able to sketch out, but I'm sooooo not. I might try looking at the scene from a different pair of eyes though - not a child though, they'd never sleep again!!

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  14. Hi Annalisa,

    I have been interacting with an aspiring author who has been fretting over the ending of her book. No matter what, she always thinks it could be better. I personally believe the answer is written in your heart and creativity. You do know the answer :)

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    1. Yes, I always think I can do better, that's why I end up with so many drafts. Ten, eleven, twelve is not unheard of from me!

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  15. How excting this is my friend! I really want to order your book when it comes out. To answer your question, I try to take the approach of letting the idea/solution comke to my rather than overtly seeking it. Of course that doesn't work in every situation.

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    1. It's kind of working. I figured out one thing that wasn't working - I was trying to kill off more people than were actually in the scene at the time... That's always a problem, don't you think?

      And thank you, I think that's the most advanced sale I've ever had :-)

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  16. I usually have the opposite problem: I know how my stories end, but I don't always know how they should start!
    Congratulations on reaching the end of another novel :-)

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    1. I usually know it all, all at once. Which is why when something isn't working, it floors me. Starting a story in the right place can be tricky - I sometimes delete chapters to get to the right point.

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  17. Go until all you can do it stop.

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  18. :) is

    I meant 'all you can do is stop.'

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Please comment - I love a good chat!