Another existential crisis in the life of my Novel-in-Progress

So, if there was any one thing that every single person I’ve had read the Work In Progress has said, it’s this:

You call this an ending?

Otherwise known as: time to find another way to end this book.

I’ve been avoiding this issue a bit as I’ve been rewriting, because I’m still not sure what would be a better ending. However, I’m almost done resolving the other issues in the book. My new ending must be found. Preferably soon rather than later.

It’s not that I don’t know where my story’s going. Or at least the general neighborhood. It’s just the details.

I’ve been looking for some inspiration online, and have found a few great links to help me out. I’ll share them with my readers, in case any of you are in the same corner as me.

Post from The Other Side of the Story with Janice Hardy http://blog.janicehardy.com/2010/03/end.html

Post from the Creative Penn http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2010/08/09/how-to-write-the-ending/

From How to Write a Book Now http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/plot-development.html

Article by Holly Lisle http://hollylisle.com/how-to-finish-a-novel/

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2 thoughts on “Another existential crisis in the life of my Novel-in-Progress

  1. Oh, endings! So elusive to find the right one.I'm not a fan of crowdsourcing an ending, but I think it might be helpful to find out *why* your readers were saying that. What about it rubbed them the wrong way and what were they looking for (not what they were expecting to happen). I have trouble with endings myself, but I try to figure out what emotion or state of mind I want to convey and try and build something around that.I'm interested to read what advice your links have!

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  2. Thank G-d, I very carefully selected articulate readers, and they were able to tell me precisely what they didn't like. (There was a lot of overlap.) They then preceded (in most cases) to tell me what they thought would make a better ending. But I didn't like most of those suggestions. I think I have just found "a third way," so to speak, and yes, the links above were helpful. A couple of them mentioned that your ending really needed to address the main theme of the book. It doesn't need to be tidy or upbeat, but it does need thematic closure. Also, there were some pacing issues that the articles clarified for me. I'm hoping to spend a big chunk of tomorrow hammering out the rewritten final few scenes. We'll have to see where it goes…BTW, I think part of the problem with the crowdsourcing endings that you mentioned is that the results will give the readers just what they expect. Often, they've been trained by popular media. If I want to provide something unexpected, or something that makes them go "Aaahhh" and "Oh!" and "Wow!" I specifically don't want to give them the straight from the box ending.

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