Logic dictates that I should be starting the new year with a post about beginning a story – but seeing as logic has never been my strong point, I’m starting 2010 with a post about how to handle the end.
Probably selfish I know, but relevant to me at this point in my novel’s ‘creation life’. That’s because I am currently in the throes, wrestling with, doing grapple tackles on my new YA novel, Street Racer – and it’s the ending that needs the most work.
See, my problem is, that I’m a little bit like a Racer in the way I write. When I see the end in sight, I put my foot on the accelerator and go for it – don’t stop till I reach the end. In fact, sometimes, I’m in such a hurry that I make wrong turns, forget to check out the scenery – and have even been known to lose a character along the way.
This year, being a new year, I’m trying a new approach to story endings and so far it seems to be working.
What I’ve realised is that it’s important to take your ending away from the rest of the story and treat it as if it were the start. In fact, this is something you can do with any parts of your story that you feel aren’t working as well as they should be.
Here’s what I mean, when it comes to endings. Take the last fifty pages of your story and rewrite them with the same diligence, care and love you have devoted to the start. If you are anything like me – you will have written, reworked, agonised over and polished that beginning until it shines – that’s after all what all the writing experts tell you to do; that this is the part that will impress the publisher or agent.
But what generally happens with my endings is…..well, I leave them till last. That makes them a bit like the last Christmas present to unwrap, the last week of the school year, the last day of the holidays – you just don’t face them with the same enthusiasm. I’ve realised it’s all about changing your thinking.
If you take the end away, detach it from your story…..and then rewrite it; you won’t run out of steam. Treat it as a new piece. Break it down chapter by chapter, page by page, word by word – until every single part of it is the best it can be. With any luck you’ll find that by doing this, you’ll give your story ending the same vibrance, clarity and spark as the beginning.
Hope this works for you. Would love to know if you can relate to this way of writing, or you may have a completely different solution to offer.
Feel free to leave your comments, and share with other writers the way that you work.