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11 Posts tagged with the ending tag
2

To conclude a story doesn't mean you've reached the end of a novel. For example, I wrote a thriller a few years ago, and if you were to ask me to tell you how it ends, I would describe the last scene in the book. By doing so, however, I wouldn't tell you how I concluded the plot of the story because that came in the previous chapter. The point is, when you are planning your novel remember you have more to write after you wrap up the conclusion of your story.


Your conclusion, when it comes to thrillers at least, has to be... well, conclusive. There has to be a fine point on it. A sense that the battle is over and there is a clear winner. The ending, on the other hand, doesn't have to have as fine a point on it. In fact, in a lot of cases, authors use the end to hint at what's to come for the characters in the book you've just read. Maybe the main character finally found love or maybe a subplot where the author introduced an estranged adult child gets a conclusion of its own. The end of the novel oftentimes affirms, either subtly or overtly, that the universe you created will go on even though the story has ended.


It has been my experience that concluding a story is easier than ending a book. There is an organic structure to reaching a conclusion, but endings are much harder. You have to stretch your imagination beyond what will be read and convince the reader that there is more out there for the characters you've created.


-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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A Rush to the Finish Line

When Do You Know The Ending?

961 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, writing, ending, conclusion
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I like uncertainty--not in life, but in fiction. Think about it. There is pleasure in not knowing, in being surprised, in being shocked even when reading a novel. Unexpected moments can make an otherwise adequate story a truly memorable and great story.


Most writers understand this aspect of storytelling. They know to shake things up and try to give the reader something they didn't see coming. They know this until it comes to the ending. I see too many authors try to give an ending that closes all the loopholes, answers all the lingering questions, and satisfies the readers' expectations. Some endings read like summaries for the entire novel, and that is a major misstep.


Uncertainty, that element that kept your readers riveted and turning the page, is also an element that can make for a perfect ending. The readers don't have to close the book with all the answers. In fact, I would make the argument that a book that ends with questions is a better option. Readers are left to entertain their own possible conclusions based on what they know from your story. They become participants, not just readers.


Don't get caught up in putting too fine a point on the ending of your book. Trust your readers' ability to think their way through the unknowns and find an ending on their own. It's a risk, yes, but I think you'll discover more discussion surrounding your story when you choose to end it with uncertainty.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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A Satisfactory Ending

When Do You Know The Ending?

994 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, ending, uncertainty, fiction_writing
2

I'll admit it. I do it. When I smell the end of a book I've been working on for weeks or months, I will rush to a conclusion. Writing a book is a long journey that requires hyper-focus and almost inhuman mental stamina. You do more than invest time in a book; you invest your mind, body, and soul to write a coherent and engaging story. In short, it can get rough.

 

The temptation is to cut corners when you near the end. I mean, you've already devoted tens of thousands of words to this masterpiece you're writing. Will skipping a detail here and there over the next couple of thousand words really make that big of a difference? The obvious answer to this question is, yes, of course it will. Speeding to finish leaves room for mistakes, and it shows an indifference to those for whom you are most responsible--your characters.

 

Here's my advice if you find yourself getting closer to the end. Stop writing. Take a break from the project for a few days. Do your best to distract yourself from the story. Have some fun. Catch up on some sleep. At the end of the second or third day, print out a copy of your manuscript, find a secluded spot and read it, aloud if possible. Read it all the way through and then outline the conclusion. Make it crystal clear what you want to accomplish with the closing pages. Remind yourself what your story is about from a fresh perspective.

 

Then write those final pages, and commit yourself to making them even better with rewrites.

 

-Richard

 

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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A Satisfactory Ending

When Do You Know The Ending?

3,119 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, publishing, writing, drafts, rewrites, ending, author_tips, story_writing
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Don't Force an Ending

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Feb 25, 2015

I just want to warn you that there's this little-known song from a movie that barely made any money at the box office that I'm going to reference in this blog post. It comes from an obscure animated flick called Frozen and the song title is "Let It Go." Oh, you've heard of it? Good, then I can spare you the video of me singing this catchy tune.

 

 

That is the wisdom I wish to impart on you today: let it go. Can't find an ending for that book you've worked so hard on for months? Let it go. What? You say it's been years? Let it go. Endings can't be forced. Well, they can, but they usually come off sounding that way. Your best strategy is to move on to the next project. Shed the frustrating missteps from your mind when it comes to finding the perfect ending, and redirect your creativity.

 

 

Albert Einstein didn't come up with the Theory of Relativity sitting in front of a chalkboard hammering out formulas and chasing mathematical equations down a rabbit hole. He came up with the idea as a clerk at the patent office staring out the window. In other words, he wasn't focused on revolutionizing physics. He was daydreaming. Had he been focused on making a great discovery at that particular moment, who knows, would he have developed the most famous scientific discovery of the modern age?

 

 

The ending will come to you when you let go of the need to find the ending. In a weird metaphysical way, stories don't like to remain unfinished. Your brain will find its way there on its own. If you force it, your brain will fight you and give your story an unsatisfying ending. Stop fixating, and start daydreaming. Let it go.

 

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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When Do You Know The Ending?

Know Thy Story

3,053 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, book, writers, publishing, writing, craft, ending, writing_advice, writing_tip
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I'm experiencing something weird as a writer. I know the ending of a story before I've finished writing the book. It's happened to me a few times before, but normally the process is a tad bit murkier for me when it comes to plotting the ending. I usually don't know the ending until I finish the first rewrite and even then, it may change by the time I'm done with the second rewrite.

 

This time, however, the ending is clearer in my mind's eye than it ever has been before, and I'm not even halfway through the first draft. Now, I didn't know the ending when I started the book, but by the time I got done with the first major scene, the ending smacked me in the face in the most glorious way possible.

 

When do you know the ending of your stories? Do you know it before you ever start writing? Do you know it before you reach the conclusion? Or do you complete a draft without a clear ending and then hammer it out during rewrites? I've experienced the ending epiphany, and I have to say, knowing the ending before the first draft is done is thrilling. I wake up every day with a little extra writing oomph because I'm so anxious to write the ending scene with all the fictional tentacles attached to it. That's not to say I don't enjoy writing when I don't know the ending. I do. The journey is just different.

 

-Richard

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A Satisfactory Ending

What Matters More: The Beginning or the Ending?

3,629 Views 10 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, fiction, ending
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A Satisfactory Ending

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 18, 2014

The end is nigh. You've been burning the midnight oil to get to that point in your novel where you can crack your knuckles and finally type "The End." The problem you're having is you're not quite sure if it's time to end your story. Is the ending you're offering truly satisfying? Will your readers celebrate your name or curse it once they read the last page?

 

Your first order of business is to forget your readers. If you try to craft an ending that will please them, you will most likely miss the mark badly. As writers, we love readers. They are our greatest partners in the storytelling process, but their participation can't influence the path your story needs to take.

 

With the reader not a consideration, what should be your guideposts to a satisfying ending to your novel? Here are three elements to consider when writing an ending:

 

  1. Tone - If you've written a dark horror story that's managed to include one terrifying passage after another, you're not going to wrap things up in a nice little cheery bow. Your ending should match the tone of the rest of your book. A romance novel will most likely end on a high note. A mystery will end in triumph for the protagonist. The type of book you're writing has a lot to do with the ending.

  2. The ending belongs to the main plot - Not all of the unknowns have to become known at the end of your book. You can leave unanswered questions, but what you don't want to do is abandon the main conceit of the story at the end of a novel. The primary thematic element of your book has to come to a conclusion in some way on the last page. You may have introduced secondary plots throughout the book, but the time to address those is before you're ready to end your story.

  3. Open or closed - That conclusion can come in open or closed form. It is possible to answer a question in a way that creates more questions. You may end a mystery with the good guy killing the bad guy. The closed version of that ending is the good guy has all the evidence he needs to prove the shooting was justifiable. The open version of that ending is the good guy has no evidence that the bad guy was even the bad guy. He just has an unwritten confession. In this case, you've concluded the main conceit (Who's the bad guy?), but you ended with an unanswered question (How will the good guy avoid getting in trouble?). Open endings can be great catalysts for sequels.


If I were to include a fourth item to this list, it would be that your own personal style has bearing on how you end a story. That style is something you will develop over time and after writing more books.

 

How do you end a novel?

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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When to Say "I Don't Care"

Does Writing Change the Author?

4,504 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, author, writing, ending
1

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice, and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

What Is a Perfect Ending? - Writer's Digest

A panel at this year's ThrillerFest discusses the best way to end a novel.

                           

5 Reasons You Procrastinate on Getting Your Book Done: What Is It Costing You? - The Future of Ink

How to overcome all those excuses that are holding you back.     

 

Film

                                                        

Email Marketing for Movies (Why You Need To Start Now!) - Filmmaking Stuff

Is your email marketing campaign as crucial as your filmmaking strategy?    

                                          

How Do You Co-direct a Film? - Projector Films

The only thing harder than directing a film may be co-directing a film.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Crowdsourced Songwriting - Musician Coaching.com

The role of emerging artists and the current state of the music industry.

 

3-Step Process to Singing in Tune: Listen, Mime, Sing! - Judy Rodman

Using active listening can help train your voice.  

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup- July 18, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- July 11, 2014

2,193 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, music, filmmaking, writing, directing, writing_process, musicians, craft, songwriting, singing, ending, movie_marketing
1

How to End a Chapter

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 14, 2013

It's hard to know when some things are over. Some guests don't know when to leave a party. Some people don't know how to exit a relationship. And some writers don't know how to end a chapter. The latter example is perhaps the most puzzling.

 

How do you end a chapter? To answer that, we first have to determine what a chapter is. A chapter is a step forward. Even if it's a flashback, a chapter's sole purpose is to advance the plot or divulge a telling component of one (or more than one) of your characters' true natures. Readers should find some revelation within a chapter that compels them to keep reading. Constructing a chapter is tricky because it has to be independently satisfying while remaining dependent on the rest of the story.

 

Chapter endings are the trickiest of the tricky. They have to leave the reader with the feeling that questions have been answered while setting up the questions for the next chapter. In a romance novel, a chapter may reveal why a woman can't stand the sight of a particular man from her past who has contacted her out of the blue. However, the closing paragraph contains a hint that she may have misjudged him.

 

It's that hint that will encourage readers to push on. Did the woman really misjudge the man? The next chapter will explore that particular question. She may discover that she did indeed misjudge him, and this new chapter will end suggesting that a person she's trusted implicitly for years was really the cause of the pain that has haunted her, a revelation that leads to more questions for the next chapter or chapters.

 

So, how do you end a chapter? You end it when you've fulfilled the unwritten contract of a chapter; you've provided some answers that give the reader a sense of satisfaction. And when that point is reached, your actual chapter ending should hint at greater revelations ahead. In short, end a chapter when there's nothing left to be said, but more to be learned.

 

-Richard

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Creative Writing Exercises

Keep Them Guessing to Keep Them Reading

7,539 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, writing, characters, craft, storyline, chapters, character_development, ending
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You've paced your book perfectly. Each paragraph, page and chapter has created a perfect base for your final crescendo. You type the last word of the conflict your story has been building up to and then?you realize there's still more to write.

 

But how can that be? You've designed your entire story around the conflict. How can there still be more to write? Writing a book is like any other journey. You start off plotting your course to reach a destination, but when you reach that destination, you understand it's not the end of your journey. You don't stop living just because you've arrived where you set out to arrive.

 

It's that sliver of life after the conflict that will carry you to the end of the story. My familiar refrain is my number one piece of advice on how to approach the action after the conflict. Do what's best for the story. What I mean by that is don't concern yourself with how things should end from the reader's point of view or even from the writer's point of view. Separate yourself from these two roles. Get inside your characters' heads. Draw on what you know to be the chaotic and unpredictable nature of fate. Identify the tone of the story you've written thus far. Take all these elements into account and create the final pages of your book.

 

If that doesn't clear things up, try another approach. Ask yourself how your readers are expecting your book to end. If you get a clear idea of what those expectations are, do the opposite. Write it out. Include it in your first draft, and then tinker with it until you're satisfied it's right for your story. Above all, readers want to be surprised. If you can come up with an ending that both fits the rest of your book and surprises your readers at the same time, you have a book they'll be compelled to discuss with their family and friends.

 

-Richard

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Is There Value in Formulaic Writing?

Be a Rule-breaker

2,887 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, characters, writing_process, craft, character_development, ending, character_arc, point_of_view
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It can take me several tries to come up with a perfect first line for a new novel. I will agonize over it. Often times, I'll write the first line and walk away. Let it settle in a bit. When I come back to see how it looks on the page, I will immediately delete it and start all over again.

 

We've all been taught the importance of a book's beginning. It's your readers' first impression of a story. If they like it, they will read on, but if they don't like it, they're likely to put the book down and never give it another thought. Most of us are taught that the beginning is the most important part of the story.

 

Or is it? I find myself sweating the final words of the book as much as I sweat the first words. The ending can either leave the readers satisfied and happy if done correctly or frustrated and angry if done poorly. The way you end your story may determine if they decide to read your next book or not.

 

As writers, we want every word of our books to be perfect and loved, but try looking at it from a publisher's point of view. As an independent author, you are a publisher after all. Where would you, the publisher, put the emphasis? Not sure? Here's a little exercise to help you determine what you value more:

 

Pretend you have 100 total points to spread out between your beginning and your ending. The number of points you assign to each section determines how good that section is. You could give both a score of 50, but that means your beginning and ending are both mediocre. Mediocre doesn't sell. As the publisher, what do you think sells: a stronger beginning or a stronger ending? Many of you would choose a stronger beginning in this situation, and I don't think you would be wrong. It's my opinion that a strong beginning sells more books than a strong ending.

 

However, it's an impossible choice as a writer. We don't want any part of our books to have less of an impact than the other. But with our publisher hats on, we tend to think in more practical terms. We see what the reader values more.

 

What's your opinion? Does the beginning or the ending matter more?

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Your First Line Can Help You Sell Books

The Importance of Endings

2,884 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, writers, writing, beginning, ending
1

Finding the right ending for a book can be a difficult task. For me, it's not just a matter of wrapping up the story in a neat little bundle to make the reader happy. As an author, I want to create an ending that will make readers want more when they've finished the book - an ending that will make them hop on the internet to search for more about me and my other titles. In short, I think the ending of your book is almost like the hook you create to inspire your audience to read more of your work. I will agonize and rewrite and lament every syllable of the last sentence in an ending. I feel that if I've done this right, it will create a fan, but if it's done incorrectly, it will leave me with a reader who is likely to forget my name the second he or she has read the last line.

 

I feel just as strongly about the ending of chapters. I know, as a reader, I'm more inclined to continue on to the next chapter if the previous one ended with an unexpected twist or an unanswered question. If a writer can plant a seed of doubt at the end of the chapter that makes me question the direction I thought the story was about to take, then I'll keep reading on to either clear up the doubt or adopt a new set of expectations for the rest of the story. This "cliffhanger" strategy is a way to keep the story compelling. Chapters don't need to include their own individual sets of conclusions. The author's only real obligation is to make sure chapters contribute to the overall conclusion of the book.

 

My favorite kind of chapter ending is that of the open-ended variety. It sets up coming conflict without revealing too much. It may even hint at an unexpected element to be introduced in the very near future. It's all about teasing readers so they just won't be satisfied until they read a little more.

 

How about you? How do you like to end a chapter? And when do you know a chapter is done?

 

 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Your First Line Can Help You Sell Books

The Point Where a Bestselling Book Lost Me

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