After a great deal of confusion and me wanting to pull my hair out…
…it looks like the poll is working. (I was wearing purple pants and a gray shirt that day, so I decided to roll with it) The problem seemed to be that it was showing up for everyone but me. But the results are in and the winner by a landslide is Danya. So that’s the character’s new name! The poll is now closed.
On to the topic at hand: The Ending.
A lot of my books are going to have sequels, so I’m going to start with that – Ending a book that is going to have at least one sequel. Surprisingly enough, I don’t ever try to write a book with the intent of giving it a sequel. I sat down to write The Dreamcatchers, Hellbound, and Grotesque with the intention of making them single, one-shot novels. In fact, I don’t like writing sequels, because I don’t think I’m very good at it. For The Dreamcatchers, I just came up with some cool new ideas, so I started sequels for it. For the other two, I was so upset when I realized I had already gone through an entire story, written over 60,000 words, and still had a lot more material to cover. In both books, there was this central villain that I thought was going to be killed off and taken care of by the end, and both times I found other obstacles had to be tackled first. And by the time I got through those, the book was over! Which led to conversations like the one I had with my friend, Micah (M), in an IHOP.
The main reason I balk at sequels is I have so many writing projects going on at one time that I am always angered in a way when I end up with a new one. That’s why when I had the dream that led to the writing of Hellbound, my first reaction was something like, “Fuck!”
Oh my, I have gotten off topic. Alright, so when you write a book that’s going to have a sequel, you need to do two things when you write the ending: 1) Wrap up with the main conflict that was covered in the book 2) Set up the conflict that is going to be in the next book. You can read examples of this in Harry Potter, A Great and Terrible Beauty, Trickster’s Choice, or any other book that has a sequel. The main point is that you get the feeling when you’re done reading it that you get when someone starts saying something but doesn’t finish the thought. You’re waiting for more. You know there should be more.
And there are still a million ways to do this. You can leave your characters in utter turmoil, or you can make it seem like everything’s going to be fine, until the next book starts and that new conflict arises. My biggest piece of advice would be to go with your gut, as I’ve said before. After you’ve managed to write a full book, the ending should come naturally. If it doesn’t, ask for help from family and friends. This advice doesn’t change if you’re writing a stand-alone book. The ending doesn’t have to wrap everything up with a neat little bow. Graveminder didn’t end that way. That book ended with the central conflict wrapped up, and a sort of consensus that the changes that had occurred in the main characters’ lives were permanent, and that they were okay with that.
This is pretty much the only advice I can give you. But here’s something else: I love helping people with their writing. So if you want to post a comment with a question about something you’re working on, or go to my Contact page and send me an email, I’d be happy to give you a few tips. Just don’t sue me for offering the advice if it ends up not working for you, because then I’ll be sad.
COMIC!! Please note that I tried to make my writing more legible. Operative word is “tried.” (Click to Enlarge)
Finally, for those who don’t know, George Takei has written a book and it is available for pre-order. To anyone who is not a fan of George Takei, you actually are a fan of George Takei, you just don’t know it yet. Try watching this video if you are unconvinced.
So don’t forget to buy his book!
Word of the Day: Ingenuity (n) – The quality of being cleverly inventive or resourceful; inventiveness.
P.S. Keep an eye out for my next post, because that will be the guest post by Liz that I hinted at before! You don’t want to miss it.
Also this. Can you guess what book she’s reading?