End Game Part Two

I’m terrified of ending this new book. I crossed the 60 and 61,000 word marks this weekend and while it’s a great feeling because the book is now officially “novel length” it’s also frightening because now I have to start bringing things together for a satisfactory conclusion. I’ve got multiple POVs out there, numerous plot threads, and a whole lot of questions I don’t have all of the answers for. That’s not what I’m scared of though.

Endings are my biggest weakness, and though I’ve worked on them and fought them, and tried to get better, I’m scared that this might be a fatal flaw. I’m worried I’ll be doomed to a life of letters telling me what a great writer I am and that they would love to buy my book, but the ending just isn’t right. I know there are plenty of books bought and sold with rotten endings, but that doesn’t make me feel any better.

I’m not giving up on conquering this just yet though. I’ve printed off the last 100 pages I’ve written so I can reaquaint myself with the plot so far. And then I’m outlining the entire book up to where I am so I have a handy chart of the entire plot. And most importantly I’m going to outline the remaining chapters so I make sure everything that needs to be addressed in the ending is addressed. This goes against my nature, but so far all my nature has given me is books with two good acts and then a drop-off. So maybe my nature needs to change.

But still, there’s no guarantee that even with all of this preparation the ending is going to work. We’re in a different marketplace now and most of the writers noted for their less than skillful endings made their names under less pressure in a different time. I don’t have that option. This might be my last shot. If I don’t get this right, I don’t know what else there might be for me to fix to get it right.

What if I’m writing at the peak of my skills right now and it’s just not good enough?

8 thoughts on “End Game Part Two

  1. What if you’re aren’t even close to your peak?

    What if, if you had rewritten Lunchbox one or two or three more times, and it would have made you a six figure deal at Harper-Collins? What if, right now, this current ms is nowhere near the point it needs to be? What if you keep going until it gets there?

    Remember when you recently slapped my face? I thank you for that, and am now slapping back.

    FORGET EVERYTHING about selling the thing, or marketplaces, or genres, or anything else that has to do with the publishing biz.

    Write the single best story you can possibly write, and the rest will take care of itself. I promise you that.

  2. “The biggest thing that gets in the way of a great story is the author.”

    I didn’t understand that statement until just recently. You have to trust the story. It will tell itself and with an honesty that you won’t achieve if you force it or worry about it.

    Write, don’t think.

  3. Following the crisis of confidence will be the inevitable “Is this thing ever going to end?” phase, which is equally nerve-wracking. Of course, you’ve been through that before.

    This is the first draft. Some people don’t even consider that the first one. They call it the rough draft. So it’s not supposed to be good enough. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try, just that you shouldn’t expect it.

    I like Dave’s line the best. So when it intimidates you, show it who’s the boss.

  4. If you’ve reached your peak already? I believe traditionally you should become a debt collector for a small-time loan shark and bide your time until Apollo Creed challenges you to a title fight after the planned opponent drops out.

Comments are closed.