Monday, 3 December 2012

Endings are such a problem


No matter how many times I go over a piece of writing, I can always find something to alter, to improve, make clearer than it was. It would save so much time if I could see those things right off, but no, it’s always at the second, third, fourth etc draft stage. They say the brain sees what it expects to see and hides the mistakes – or doesn’t even register them. I’m tempted to start going through Victorian Beauty again, but I haven’t finished it yet. I still have the final couple of chapters to write, and this is where I stalled the last time I worked on this story.
Melodrama, they say, is the result of under motivation rather than over expression, so maybe I’d better start checking the motivation of my characters. Perhaps their lack of motivation is what's stalling me. Goldman says of endings: ‘Give the audience what it wants but not the way it expects.’ Ha! Easier said than done. McKee says ‘The climax of the last act is the great imaginative leap. Without it, you have no story. Until you have it, your characters simply wait.

My poor characters have been waiting more than a year for this resolution, so I’d better get on with it. But then, as Hemingway once said, ‘The first draft of anything is shit.’
I can study famous quotes and read about endings, climaxes, resolutions and the like, but when it comes right down to it, I’m going to have to finish the thing, or else admit I’ve wasted my time writing the first 80 thousand words. I don't want to give up; I like these characters. A piece of advice remembered from long ago - if you can't decide on the ending, write several endings and see which you prefer. I may very well try it. I'll let you know if it works.

4 comments:

Ursula Thompson said...

That's what I'm doing right now - writing a second ending. And I still don't know which one I like better.
BTW, I enjoyed the ending of Victorian Beauty.

Ursula Thompson said...

That's what I'm doing right now - writing a second ending. And I still don't know which one I like better.
BTW, I enjoyed your ending of Victorian Beauty.

Dean Crawford said...

That's the way it always is Jen - I also take about three drafts to be happy with a novel: the first, then two editorial drafts where I sharpen it all up. However, I plot heavily so I have my ending sorted before I start the first draft...

Tagged you on my blog for "The Next Big Thing" blog meme recently. Have a look at the little Q&A :)

Jen Black said...

Thanks Ursula - I'm expanding the ending you saw, so maybe there'll be another couple of chapters.

Dean - had to laugh at the thought of being the next Big Thing - that would be good!