Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Writer's Alphabet - X is for Exit

Okay, I know I am cheating with this letter, but the topic is perfect for the end of the alphabet.  I want to talk about the end of your story.  The exit.  From my own experience, I am all too excited to get to the end of the book I am writing.  So excited, in fact, that I have to stop myself from steamrolling down to the last word.  I have OFTEN rewritten the ending the next day or next week that in my overwhelming joy I pounded out the day or week before.  With unbridled restraint.

Possibly you are thinking this might go against the advice I always give that the first draft ought to be written all the way through without stopping.  I'm not.  I still write my novels without editing along the way, still with wild abandon.  But, the fact remains and must be said: I stop and consider thoughtfully the ending.  Of a novel, a novella, a short story.  I have to.  Because as far as I am concerned, it's the most important part.  You know, next to the start and the middle.  :-)

Since I don't write series, as a general rule, I have this unhealthy need to wrap all loose ends up at the end of a tale. So much so that I often retrace my literal steps to make sure no stone goes unturned.  And here again, lies the rub.  You, of course, know I have written a series.  I swear it was quite by accident and I pride myself with the knowledge that even though the books (SPELLBOUND and EVERSPELL) are in a series, they can be read and enjoyed as stand-alones. But, I still need to tidy everything up and wrap it in a great big bow.

And that is why X is for exit.  As a writer, we have a dual intention. We want to write an exit befitting the genre and the characters.  And even if it ends, we want there to be just the tiniest hint we might revisit their worlds.  If the readers like them enough, they will practically demand it.

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