Writing Exercise #2


The Perfect Ending

Since reading Risen the other day, I've been obsessing over the ending to my story... as you'll be able to tell here. I've included the full text of the exercise here, and my work below, though my work is mostly for my benefit, since you probably won't get it unless you've read the ending :-)

Link to source: WritersDigest.
"Maybe you knew the ending of your story before you even wrote your rough draft, or maybe you now find yourself unsure of your original choice for the ending.  Here are a couple of exercises that will help you find the best, and perhaps unexpected, ending to your story:

  1. Put the story aside and make a list of all the possible things that could happen in the ending (even if they violate your original vision of the story).  Come at it from every possible angle–the expected and the unexpected, the “soft” and the “hard,” the happy and the sad and whatever lies in between.  You should have a list of at least five or six possible endings.  Now, consider how each option shades the meaning of the story.  This is a time when you must “listen” to your story and see which way it wants to go.  Chances are, the key to your ending lies in the beginning and the middle of the story.  You may discover that the story you’ve written is quite different from the one you set out to write.  That’s fine–happens all the time.  The important thing is not to ruin your story by forcing a wrong ending simply because it adheres to your preconceived  notion of what “should” happen.
  2. Once you’ve discovered what should happen in your ending, there is still the question of technique.  Again, try several different variations, making the final sentence:
    1. A line of description
    2. A line of dialogue
    3. A character’s action
    4. Internal monologue–a character’s thought or feeling."

Obviously, I can't reveal to you the ending of my story yet. But I will tell you this, it's very abrupt; not at all gentle. So as I've read through this exercise a couple of times, I've come up with a few different ideas of how I could alter it. 

1. Leave it the way it is. Some people won't like it, but perhaps that's what it'll take to get them to read the second book?

2. Move the end scene to earlier, so that the anticipation is still there, but the actual ending is softer.

3. Resolve the end scene.

4. Leave part of the end scene, but not all of it.

5. A combination of 2 and 4...

6. Leave part of the end scene, and add more from the opposing storyline, to give more closure

7. Take out the end scene all together and make it the prologue for Book 2... 

I think I like #7 best... but I also like #6...

#7 would leave us at the end of one adventure, with a little more understanding, and a little more knowledge of what may be to come...

And as far as the second part, I personally love chapters/books that end in a dialogue line, or a character thought. I honestly can't see this book ending any other way... maybe an action would work if it were crazy, I'll have to try it out.

Sidenote: I just had a thought about the antagonist thing from the last writing exercise... as much as I like Nic Cage, and as much as he LOOKS like my villain, he wouldn't be able to do it. Because my characters speak with British accents, and his is terrible.

The End,

Page Traveler

What do you like in a book ending? I know it'll be a cliffhanger, so that being the case do you prefer a more abrupt ending, or a softer ending? Dialogue? Action? Description?

No comments

Back to Top