And then I woke up – The End
I find beginning a story and ending a story to be two of the most difficult things about writing. Sometimes I’ve spent twice as long writing an ending to a story than I have writing the entire story itself.
I remember in primary school the teacher would ask us to write stories and always say ‘I don’t want it to be a dream!’
Okay – so how do you end a story when you’re a child? You’ve been woken from your bed in the dead of night by aliens, you fight them off, you save the world and then – is that mum calling me for breakfast? Oh, it was all just a dream! The End. No wonder the teacher at school hated it.
I’ve read a couple of books where the ending falls apart and this can be bitterly disappointing. An ending doesn’t have to be predictable, but it does need to be ‘rounded off’ for me. I like closure, I like things to be made clear, I like to see people satisfied, fail, win, killed or something, I like the question at the beginning of the story to be answered, I like to see people grow and their situation change them in some way – I don’t like to find the hero hanging by his jockstrap on the precipice then see ‘to be continued…’ this is when I throw the book out the window.
If the story starts off with a girl’s quest to find her long lost twin sister I don’t want to read 250 pages to have her satisfied that she learned to drive a tractor instead.
Surprise and twist endings are my favourites – but I don’t like them to be too surprising. I don’t want to find that the two year old baby cooing in the pram for the last hundred pages is actually the serial killer.
If I want to be preached to I’d go to church. Reading a humorous novel and finding in the end that I have to forward this book to seven people or I’ll be damned to hell doesn’t really endear me to the author.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I like closure and this is why I spend so much time on endings. Do you have this problem or are endings easy for you?