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WIP Wednesday: I Hate Endings


So I've hit 60k on the WIP--woot!  BUT that also means I'm staring down the climax and ending, the final act--which just sends me burying my head in the sand.


Can I make a confession?  Writing endings is the bane of my existence.  I always struggle with getting my head around those final few chapters.

I know where I want things to end up--in romance, that's pretty obvious--happily ever after.  I know who my bad guy/gal is in my suspense subplot.  Know what needs to be revealed.  But how I get all that out and make it climactic and satisfying (and not melodramatic or predictable or contrived or clichéd) is proving to be challenging,

So here I sit, with the end in sight but out of reach.  Totally stuck.  Bleh.  I need this thing done.  I live in a state of unrest during the rough draft phase.  I'm ready for the next step, which I find much more comfortable--revising and rewriting.

Now back to staring into space, trying to put all the necessary puzzle pieces together to craft my final few chapters.

So how about you?  Where are you at with your WIP?  Which part of the novel do your struggle with writing the most (beginning, middle, end)?  Do you enjoy drafting or revising more?


**Today's Theme Song**
"It Ends Tonight" - All-American Rejects
(player in sidebar, take a listen)


Reader Comments (33)

Endings are so hard. You know there's all this time still to be spent with the characters in your revisions and such, but that first draft is so exciting. It's such a time of discovery.

Then you discover what you think is everything and declare the first draft done.

Sure there are still surprises to come (I'd imagine), but much of that thrill of discovery is gone once you write "The End." (Literally or figuratively, whichever is your cup of tea.)

I'm sure you'll write a phenomenal ending and that you'll gleefully jump into revisions. As for me, never having carried a manuscript through complete revisions, I'd have to say I enjoy drafting more. But that's only because I don't know anything different. I struggle with the middle. I always know how I want to start and end before I begin a project. But then, the getting there really takes it out of me.

Good luck with your WiP!

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie McGee

I'll answer your last question first: Love the writing (and ultimately rewriting as I discovered after 4 versions with the same two MCs).

My prior work is finished, has a couple of offers on it...but contingent on one lil' detail - getting sex in there. So sex is what kills me. I've banged my head against a wall for two+ weeks now and freeze up every time.

As to future projects, I'm still working on learning the characters enough so that I can write about them. I love the initial stages of a book though - getting to know my characters, what makes them tick and what's going to spark them.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth L

Ack--I hear you! Every time I slog through an ending to one of my books I think, "That is the most melodramatic, overwritten piece of crap I've ever seen." Sad to say, I usually still feel that way about it when I revise--LOL. If you find a magic "ending" technique, let me know!

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I end up having trouble with it all! Endings are hard, but so are beginnings. And interesting middles end up being hard too, although that is probably easier than the rest of it. Congrats on your progress, Roni! Good luck with your ending.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavin

Good luck getting it done. I love your description of a state of unrest. That describes perfectly how I feel during the draft process, too.:) For me, endings are the easiest. Middles are the absolute hardest and sometimes I really suffer with beginnings too.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Walkup

Beginnings and plot are my banes.

I usually re-write the first few chapters six or ten times.

Endings I like. I pepper questions throughout the book and wrap them up at the end.

At least, that's the idear.

By the time I get rolling on the beginning, the book already exists and it's up to me to get it written before I forget it all.

- Eric

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEric W. Trant

i struggle with the middle. Especially if i don't have enough exciting plot points to zazz it up figured out ahead of time

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFalen

I don't mind the last chapter.. it's the last LINE that gets me.

"And so... there you have it."

or how about:


See.... I suck.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIndia Drummond

Endings I do okay with. I usually have that part mapped out. The middle is where I manage to struggle. Of course this just so happens to be where I a now on my current WIP.

Good Luck, I'm sure it will be fabulous. Love your blog by the way!

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRenae

I'm at the same spot as you right now, but I think I hate endings for a different reason. As soon as I write The End, it means the editing starts, which I very much have a love hate relationship with.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatti

Relax. Something will come to you when you're not really looking. Often happens to me when sleeping, working out or making dinner.

Endings are tough for me, too. Getting it to go the way I want can be a struggle. Although, I find the editing / rewriting most annoying. I feel like I'm wading through mud. It is my life through fall, so I just have to deal with it. I'm at the 1/2 way point.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterM Pax

I'm in the middle of my WIP, but planning to finish this month. The ending is always daunting. I always want it to be perfect, even when I know the rest still needs fine tuning.

My advice is take it a page at a time. If you get lost, go back and read. Let the characters guide you. Good luck!

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiana Brooks

I like writing endings. Like you, I see the ending long before I write it but its that just before the climax and the climax that can be so hard. With my last book I couldn't connect it and then I finally thought of this new character I wanted to.

The endings done, but now I have to go back and weave the character into the book just a little. So don't be afraid to pull out something new if it helps then weave it in later so it doesn't seem random.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

I'm with you, endings are the worst for me. I want it to feel satisfying, but my current wip also leads to a sequel. So it needs to satisfy and set things up.

Currently I'm stuck on the last 2 pages. It is a list...this happened and took this long, blah blah blah. It feels like I said, "yay, conflict is over, they tied things up like this and wha la! We are done!" *sigh* My muse also chose this time in my revisions to go silent. What?! At least help me through the last 2 pages!

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCharity Bradford

Dang. I could've written this post. Seriously, I totally get where you're coming from. It's where I've been for the last month. Even now that I have the ending of my story figured out, I still feel like I'm floundering and I want so badly to be done so I can work on revising. Revising is so much easier and comfortable than drafting. Good luck with your ending! Hope you're not stuck for long. :)

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAbby Annis

Yep, totally agree. I find the endings the hardest because, even though I know the ending long before I reach it, it's finding the words that will keep it satisfying for the reader.

I've read some really shocking endings that feel cliche, don't really have a point or are just plain corny and that's exactly what I don't want my endings to become, so I end up struggling over finding the right words.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCheree

My current WiP is (ideally) going to be my longest work yet, so I haven't really had to think about endings beyond the short story/novella length. However, I was about 12,000 words in when I wrote my (temporary) ending for what I hope will eventually be an 85,000 word draft. But my novel has a very very clear timeline, so I know the exact point at which it will end, and I wanted to get the sentiment of it down.

I think the middle is the hardest for me because I've written the beginning and I can see where it will all come to a close, but I'm not quite sure how to get it there.

I'm sure the ending will come to you when you least expect it. Good luck!

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterL. Hild

Middles are hard for me. I know that sounds silly because the middle is the substance, but I always know my beginning and how it's going to end. It's developing the in-between that I find a little more tricky.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

I must say, I'm with you on the endings. I NEVER know how to end my stories. I know this may be crazy to some people, but I actually enjoy revising more. I like to go back and see the weak spots, and then finally have that "aha!" moment.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRacquel Henry

There's a great article on endings on the samhein blog:

A good discussion taking place.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterL'Aussie

Endings are hard. Well, I mean, I can only assume.

I'm still struggling with an unfinished middle.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmber Tidd Murphy

Endings are hard. Well, I mean, I can only assume.

I'm still struggling with an unfinished middle.

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmber Tidd Murphy

I'm writing a trilogy. I left the first book as a cliffhanger and the response I received was a bit hostile as readers did not want to see the protagonist left in limbo.

So I'm adding the first six chapters of the second installment to the end of the first so the reader will have closure. The protagonist is rescued, but there is still much unresolved conflict for the reader to want to come back and buy the next book.

Stephen Tremp

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephen Tremp

Definitley drafting is my favorite, mainly because I hate revising cause I always find tons wrong. I have to say I usually like the middle toward the end of the WIPS--mainly because it's almost the final core of the story surfacing. I love that!

No worries, the words and characters will magically flow to your liking and it'll be a awesome ending! =D

*I've totally missed you and your blog, btw!

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSara Tribble

Haha, you and I are very different then. I'm always reluctant when it comes to editing, and love the actual rough draft stage, though I'm usually eager to get it done.

You're lucky though-being better at editing and knowing what editors want to see is probably more useful. :)

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOddyoddyo13

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