I believe that one of the hardest things in the world to do is write the ending of a book. How do you conclude a novel, or even a series in a way that will not only impress your readers but yourself? This is something that I have been focusing on the last couple of days as I continue to write and plan my Pearls of Solus series.
I am concerned with the ending, just as any author should be. I know how it ends, but I have not specifically written the ending. Just as I know that characters are going to die. I have created a world which is beginning to be torn apart from war and discord. There are going to be deaths. How do you kill a character that you have become attached to?
I outline my books, I always do. It is a short and less detailed outline, but I do it that way because much of what I create comes from writing on a whim. I could sit down and plan every single scene out in detail, but my imagination doesn't work that way.
I just start writing.
Some of my best and most interesting ideas have come to me as I was writing a chapter where I didn't know where it was going. Small specific details that you couldn't think of if you tried. I am getting better at typing without looking at the keyboard because I will close my eyes and imagine what is happening in my story. I want to see it. I want to feel it. One of the best pieces of advice I have ever read involved putting emotion into your story.
You must be emotionally attached to your characters and your story.
The truth is simple. If you don't care about the small emotional details, neither will your readers. You must make your characters human, they must have faults and weaknesses. Failing is never the goal, but what your character does after they fail to make up for it, now that is a story worth telling.
I generally don't get into the habit of writing my ending before it happens, that way I can write it in the moment. I can also see the benefits to having a better outlined ending, such as having a more detailed story line to follow. I don't want to shackle myself to an ending, however, a story is a living and breathing entity. It can change with the authors mood on any given day. Maybe your story is beginning to develop in a different way, demanding a different outcome.
The way you write is completely up to you. It all depends on the type of story you are telling. You should not be locked in to an ending, you have to give your story plenty of room to develop.
Should you write the ending to your book first, so you can come to terms with where it is going?
Stephan J. Hahn