The Book That Will Not End

Posted at Jan 16, 2013 6:39 pm in , , , , , ,

I’ve been working on this story (UP TO THE CHALLENGE Book 2 in Anchor Island series) since last summer and the end is so close, I can see it shining bright and happy in the distance. But that distance is the problem. The more I write, the more the distance seems to grow.

If you aren’t a writer, you’re probably thinking, “Why can’t she just end it if she wants to end it?” Oh, if only it were that easy. You see, the story ends when it ends and I really don’t have much say in that. Sounds strange, I know. I definitely would have considered a statement like that quite loony before undertaking this writing gig myself.

But this is also good. At least for me. You see, I’m not very good at writing endings. Most writers hate the middle, but I love it. That slide into THE END is the one that gives me fits. I tend to pull my punches, get through the ugly black moment as quickly as possible, have them make up, and BOOM we’re done.

You see the problem here. For some readers, that black moment is the best part. That’s the scene they’ve been dying to reach, the pay off for the time they’ve given to the story. You can’t rob the reader of that angst and heartbreak. At least not too many times before they stop bothering with you at all.

So I’m looking at this as progress. It’s taking this long because I’m not pulling punches and rushing. And in the end, the book will be better if I let it fall onto the page how it will. Still 4 or 5 scenes from the end, all riddled with angst and a couple should induce tears if I write them as I imagine them in my head. (One sad tears and the other happy tears.)

I will hit THE END by Sunday. That is my self-imposed deadline. Which is really non-negotiable since my contract-induced deadline is six weeks after that. In the meantime, the cover for my debut novel MEANT TO BE is under construction. I’ve seen a potential version and can I just say, THIS IS SO EXCITING! As I typed to my editor, “It’s a book. With my name on it. Heh.”

Understated much? Do you read for the black moments? The blacker the better? Is the happily-ever-after as satisfying if the heartbreak isn’t dark enough?

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7 Comments

7 Responses to “The Book That Will Not End”

  1. As a reader, I adore a good Black Moment — the “angstier” the better. If my heart is clenching and causing me to want to yell out loud at whatever is keeping the hero and heroine apart, I am a super happy camper.

    Heck, I love a good Black Moment as a writer, too…**when I finally get there!** But first, I have to slog through the saggy middle (and that’s the roughest, most mind-melting stretch of the writing process for me. Blergh!) I tend to sprint from the Black Moment to THE END at record pace — 5,000 words a day with this last book. Oh, of course, I have to go back in and flesh out that whole section, thanks to my tendency to write “spare” in the craptastic first draft. But that race to the finish is oh-so-exciting for me to write–I can hardly keep my fingers apace with my thoughts, and tears are usually streaming down my face as I see the ending coalesce on the screen.

    I’m sending you good thoughts, Terri, on getting “there” by Sunday!

    • Terri says:

      Eileen – I find I tend to get very depressed and mopey while writing the black moment. Which is why I need to push through it and get to the happier stuff after this time. I feel what my characters feel, which is good, but it’s hard to pull out of.

      I LOVE writing the middle. That’s where all the good stuff happens. Where things heat up and they fall in love and then start hitting bigger and bigger speed bumps until BAM! Black moment. So love the middle.

      Thanks for the support! I keep forgetting to check in with the WWF. Will do better tonight.

  2. I must be the oddest reader around… I mean, black moments, if they have a good build up? I speed through them because I’m going too fast to stop and really fall into them. Usually, by then I just want to hit the end.

    And yes, I do this with books I love. I have no idea when I entered the she who reads fastest wins contest.

  3. I’m not a fan of writing endings, either. LOL I don’t know what it is. I love beginnings, I actually enjoy digging into the middle and right up to that last turning point… then it’s always more difficult for me to decide where to end the story.

    But what I’ve found is that my first instinct is almost always the right one.. even if I shift and change my ending, I often come back to finishing it exactly the way I first intended.

    One of these days, I’ll just shut myself up. :) Good luck with your ending!

    • Terri says:

      Hey, Jeannie! Thanks for stopping by. Finally! Another writer who enjoys the dreaded middle. LOL! Come sit by me, darling.

      I always know what the end is going to be. That last scene shows up almost as soon as the first scene does. It’s the last 5-10 scenes before that. Usually, at the end of a book, the scenes get very short and go by really fast, building to something big. Things get worse and worse and I stress to create that build up. That whole “make your characters lives miserable” is not something that comes naturally to me.

      I love that you always come back to your first instinct. I’m learning that’s the best way to go. Trust your gut. That might be my new motto.

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