Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Finish Line: Why NOT to sprint for it!

This week I find myself sitting just upon the brink of that one place every writer shoots for...the finish line. Anyone who has ever written a novel understands the sheer, unmitigated joy that comes with typing "The End" on that final page.

Sometimes the joy is found in finally giving those characters you've been engrossed in for several hundred pages their well-deserved happily ever after. Other times, it's from finally being able to rid yourself of this tortuous book that only came in fits and spurts and caused you all kinds of mental anguish.

For me, the joy comes in just knowing that I've once again accomplished something that so many people set out to do, but never complete. But this week, I had to step back and remind myself not to sprint for the finish line. As I went through my writing day, going full-throttle toward reaching my page goals and thinking about the next book I want to write, I realized I wasn't giving my current work-in-progress the attention it deserved. Getting to "The End" shouldn't be my sole focus. Making sure the end is as interesting, satisfying and well written as the beginning and the middle should be what fuels me.

So, instead of sprinting, I've decided to step back and stroll through the meandering roads of my story's ending. Enjoying the characters, the setting, and the flavor I've spent the past several hundred pages creating. I have no doubts the book will be better for it.


KeVin K. said...

You know I do things backwards. Often the end of a story is what I write first -- because the exciting climax is what captured my imagination in the first place. Then I write a story to get me to the climax. And, most of the time, the story I write needs a different ending than the one that inspired it.
You need a good beginning to draw the reader in, and you need a strong middle to carry them through the story, but your ending is what they will remember. Never hurry it -- good advice, Farrah.

Liane Spicer said...

Yup, the ending makes or breaks a good story. It's the equivalent of leaving the cinema with that feeling of satisfaction, versus sucking your teeth as you leave, thinking "Eh?"