Getting to “The End”

In all of my writing life, from essays in school to writing back cover copy to writing a novel, I must admit that I have the most trouble with the endings. I’m a good starter. I love introductions, headlines that grab you, the set-up to a story. Maybe it’s the anticipation.

Middles are good too, though perhaps not as exciting to write. It’s in the middle where the evidence builds, the bricks are being laid, the meat of what you’re trying to say starts to come out. It’s where you build to your climax.

But I’m never quite happy with my endings. I’ve always felt that my conclusions to essays were the weakest part of them. I often struggle to find the right way to end back cover copy. With my short stories, knowing where to end was the toughest part.

This is probably why I was able to write 80,000 words of my current novel in the space of 8 weeks and now I’ve slowed to a crawl as I decide how best to bring it all home. By this time an outline can’t help me. What I wrote is far better than my original outline. Anyway, I have a clear idea of what I need to write. I just question whether the pace is working or if I’m leaving the reader hanging on anything.

Rather than press on ahead I’ve decided to take a small step back to look at the whole. I’m digitizing the entire manuscript and will listen to it this week before writing more. I would prefer to listen to it all in one day, but I have this thing called a job and a family, so I guess that’s out for the moment. One nice thing about this turn of events is that it will get me off my butt for a bit. I can listen to my text on my iPod while I do the laundry and hit the treadmill. (My intensive writing schedule has me feeling tremendously slouchy.)

So while I’d like nothing more than to post on here that the manuscript is done, it needs to cook a little longer. I guess it’s all part of the process.

And see, even now I don’t know how to end this post.