The Trouble with Endings

Is that I find them hard to write. I think I may have mentioned before how hard I find them. Which is possibly why, until I started writing romance and seriously trying to get published, I never finished any of the stories I used to start.

I’m not sure what it is about them that I find difficult. Before I really got into learning the technical aspects of writing romance, I used to find that the problem was the cheesiness of them. The obligatory here’s-why-I-was-so-horrible-to-you explanations. But now that I know a little more about what I’m doing, it’s even worse than that just the cheesiness: it’s the tying up of the conflict.

Has each character completed their journey? Have they learned enough from each other in order to take that last step and overcome their conflict? Have I tied up any loose ends? Have I introduced something I shouldn’t? Argh! Several people have commented in the last couple of blog posts that the more you know, the harder it gets and you know what? They’re right! Before I knew any of this it was ‘I love you’. ‘I love you too’. Kiss. The End.
Not any more.

The reason for the angst is that I’m nearing the end of the Frenchman. Got the Black Moment then the resolution to go. I know how it’s going to play out, but I’ve got bogged down yet again. I think – as usual – it’s because one of them needs to act and I’m not quite sure what that action is yet. It’ll be something to do with their conflict that will precipitate the black moment but I’m still feeling my way a little here. Ah well, I always have this problem during a first draft. I’ll go like the clappers for a while and then come to a shuddering halt. But no doubt I’ll figure out what one of them needs to do and then I’ll be off again and I’ll find write the end of the wretched thing. And you know what? Just writing this blog post has given me an idea… The Frenchman likes to be in control so what does he do when he feels a situation is sliding out of his control? He likes to get it back!

On that happy note, anyone else find endings difficult to write? Please don’t say I’m the only one!

23 thoughts on “The Trouble with Endings”

  1. It’s not just you! I find endings hard to write. Beginnings and middles too, come to think of it.

    I tend to rush the all important ‘ah’ factor, which I guess is the reader’s payoff for being put through all the earlier angst, and am often told at the revision stage to go into greater depth. I seem to be far happier when they’re snapping at each other πŸ˜‰

    Good luck with the Frenchman. He sounds difficult but divine!

  2. Lucy – Yay! Or not yay. Commiserations instead maybe? But hey, snap with the rush to the ‘ah’ moment. I do that too. And I don’t linger on it. I way prefer the snapping and the tension. Perhaps we could start a support group? Endings Anonymous… πŸ˜‰
    Cheers re the Frenchman. He’s rude and difficult but I think he’s divine too. lol!

  3. For me, it’s getting it started. You know The Greek is giving me massive grief. I used to blaze through my beginnings, but stall out in the middle. Now that I’ve converted to plotting, I have trouble in the beginning! Is this enough? What are their motivations? Are they clear? Am I telling and not showing?? (my editor now lives in my head, and she’s lovely, but she gives me lots to think about!)

    The end? I love endings. I like to have a reference to the first chapter, which you’ve seen, Jackie. I usually go from the black moment straight through. Endings are when I’ll do something crazy like 8K in an evening.

    *dodges flying objects*

  4. OK – i’m seriously green re Maisey’s comment 8k in one sitting?

    I had a day last week where I hot just over 3K and I was pleased as punch, well that obviously was chicken feed in comparison!

    Sigh. Endings. I usually write up to the BM then give myself a bit of space – kind of like building my energy so I can write -that’s what I’ll do with the current MS, then I’ll switch to MS2till BM then head back to MS1 and finish that…

    That was the long answer – short one – they take the bugger out of me.

  5. Maisey – yep, I know exactly what you mean. Endings, beginnings…It’s hard! 8k?? You’re a machine woman! I can do the tense/sexy bits – up to the black moment, up to the first love scene, stuff like that. I like those. But wrapping everything up. Argh. Interesting referencing that first scene. Maybe I should be thinking about that as a way forward.
    Thanks man.

    Janette – like your short answer! Lol! Yep, they take it out of me too. I tend to splurge it out without worrying too much about it, then go back for a polish…

  6. Yup I agree 100%. I tend to write an epilogue first (if the story calls for one of course) just so I can get to the bit where everything is really fine and dandy. *Then* I go back to the ending and try and work it in! Caroline x

  7. I HATE writing endings. I like to build off the previous scene as I write and you can’t do that with the end, for obvious reasons. So it’s about enjoying the journey rather than the destination. And winding it up means I have to move on without the characters I’ve grown to love. Although, a bright shiny new story does provide some consolation.

  8. Jackie – I’m finding it ALL difficult at the moment – lol!! Usually middles are my biggest woe though. But like Caroline I do like writing an epilogue first even if I don’t actually end up using it!

  9. Ooh and like Maisey, I do love a book that has a ref to first chap in the last one or the epilogue! Sadly… I don’t know if my new version of wip is gonna pan out that way πŸ™

  10. Ok, the 8K thing happened ONCE. On my last WIP, and it was the rewrite, so let’s degreen a bit!! I SWEAR I’m not a cyborg. I’m just a normal, over-caffeinated woman.

    And Jackie, if that helps at all, I’ve very pleased. It’s something I did with my HVA rewrite and I thought it was cute, so I threw it into the last one too. I think it makes you feel their history.

  11. Caroline – I have tried to do the ending first but I have to say that the conflicts can make things work out differently to what I thought. And then I can’t write it that way either!

    Robyn – yay, you hate endings too! Lol! I’m like you, building off previous chapters. I tend to confuse myself sometimes and start adding extra strands to the conflict which doesn’t help! Plus, I do get distracted by shiny new story love. πŸ˜‰

    Rach – middles can suck. Is there ANY part of the book that’s good? Black moments, that’s what I love writing. Oh and btw, you will get there with yours. You really will.

    Maisey – I think the way you write is fabulous. You make me feel like my speed is normal. Lol! I think I could do with some 23 year old energy instead of 39 year old tiredness. Hee hee.
    History huh? Yep, I like it. Will have to reference it I think.

  12. Maisey – ah bah! 23, 24, you’re still half my age. πŸ™‚ Lol! but you’re right. Sorry. One day you’ll enjoy it when someone assumes you’re a year younger than you actually are. Hee hee.

    Lacey – no one likes sag. Or saggy endings. Sorry for spreading my ending dislike around!

  13. To be honest sagging middles are my big bugbear.

    That said, I do have a tendency to rush the ending. Have discovered with my last few books that there’s no harm in giving your characters a little breather in between that big black moment and their resolution. Let them sit and stew in their own angst for a while before tying everything up. Makes it more convincing (unless they’ve done their stewing already). Also, nothing wrong with a nice little epilogue to tie up any other loose ends you didn’t quite get round to cos you were too focussed on resolving the emotional conflict.

    My latest book (out in May) has a ten-page epilogue…!!

    Basically because I had so many loose ends still to tie up. For example, my couple still happened to live in two different cities doing jobs they loved hundreds of miles apart. Plus because of who they were and their checked past history, they hadn’t made a long-term commitment as such in their resolution scene, just a commitment to give their relationship a go because they’d both finally figured out how much they loved each other…

    All depends on the couple I suppose how you handle it.. And whether you don’t mind copping out with a ten-page epilogue!!

  14. Heidi – yes, I rush endings too. In fact, I’m rushing this one right now! I quite like them stewing in their own angst though – will give that some thought.
    Ten page epilogue? Sounds cool! Y’see, I like reading ’em, I just get very impatient with having to tie everything up and don’t like writing ’em. But yours sounds fantastic. And I can see from what you’re saying there that I’ll probably have to do one for the Frenchman. Ah well. I guess I can manage it. Can’t wait to read yours!

  15. You’re nearing the end of the Frenchman?????? But surely you’ve only just started that story? I’m reeling from how quickly you write. And I’m incredibly impressed. Well done.

    XX

  16. i can’t beleive you are at the end either! I’m still on chapter 1 of mine. i hate how slow i’m going. but i can’t seem to get them to move any faster. sigh. I’ve only written one ending and that was for my single title dirty draft LOL. that was fun. can’t wait for the end of this one! If only i could finish the beginning…

  17. Suzanne – yes, I know. I do write fast. But it’s a very first drafty first draft. Heaps of editing in other words!

    Kerrin – if it’s any consolation my beginning took me ages too. But then I kind of hit my stride. And yeah, I do go quickly when I’m enjoying it. Hope your ending is enjoyable when you get to it – mine is actually not as bad as I thought. So far. πŸ˜‰

  18. Hah! Yeah, I’m on the fourth beginning for The Greek. Used to love beginning…but now that I know more…well, ain’t that how it is?

    Jackie, I’m not either half your age. Don’t add nine years to yourself

  19. Hi,

    Commiserations on endings – the butt of all evil in knowing when to let go.

    Sorry for butting in on such a good run about iffy endings and sagging middles!

    That’s the thing with words, nip ‘n’ tuck and botox are not available, and padding-out is more likely to reward on word count satisfaction.

    That said, to get lift and sense of suspense mid-way “think thriller writer” and how the middle is often the “turning point/the twist” and where, in a romance the main protagonists can begin to view each other in a different light and up the tempo.

    As for endings, think new beginning, and like Heidi, I think epilogues are great! Ten Pages of loose ends maketh a tapestry.

    Speed writing = a novel completed in seven weeks at this end. Done, revised, sent! Am now 6 chaps into historical started two weeks ago, 1st draft snipit on my blog. Hee hee, always up for comments! Skin like a rhino.

    best

    F

  20. Francine – some great advice there. Hadn’t thought about that re the middle and the ending being a new beginning. You’re right though! Might see if I can look at it in that light.
    Wow, that IS speed writing. Excellent re your novel in 7 weeks! Good luck huh?

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