Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Secrets to a great "The End"

Last Monday, Erynn so fabulously posted about starting your novel. Today I'd like to post on finishing it! Both steps are equally exciting, though one perhaps is significantly more relieving! ;)

When it comes to leaving a great "The End" in your red-eyed, chocolate crumbed, post-novel wake, think Silas Marner.

Yeah, if you read that book in high school English too, then I'm sorry for the shock and horror that just raced through your body in memory. But if you haven't, then Silas Marner is this (terrible) classic novel about an older man who is considered crazy by the villagers because he lives/hides in the woods and has all kinds of family drama. My point, however, is that he is a weaver. He weaves on a loom (and yes, my also-considered-crazy english teacher made us as 10th graders BUILD A LOOM and WEAVE IN SCHOOL during class for a WEEK. No, I'm not still bitter. Okay, maybe a little)

You have to weave to have a good ending in your novel.

To avoid a cliche, forced, contrived or cheesy ending, think about the threads you wove throughout or if you must, go back at the end and weave one that you suddenly recognized would be amazing. It's never too late ;) 

Weaving means playing on key words you used throughout, key themes, key elements, even a subplot or something as simple as an inside joke between the characters that was mentioned just enough times to be recognized by the reader and give them that warm reaction when you they catch it. Another great way to weave and bring the story full circle at the end is to incorporate the title into the character's dialogue or internal thoughts at that last paragraph.

It's also important to avoid a rushed ending. You don't want things wrapping up so quickly the reader rolls their eyes and mutters "apparently they realized on page 201 that the book had to end on page 205".

But it's just as important not to drag out an ending. You don't want the reader feeling as if the story actually ended on page 215 and yet somehow, there's another 10-20 pages to muddle through. You've been there on both sides as readers, I'm sure, so you understand those feelings and how you want to avoid that :)

Any questions on endings? :)


  1. Lol. Another awesome post. :) I personally like endings that tie back to the beginning on some way. Even if it's some miniscule thing that you didn't think too much about when you read it the first time. One of the 2 ending ideas I have for my story is a situation where my main character finds herself thinking one of the lyrics (of that makes any sense) to one of the songs they always play at the football games, but what the lyric means in the song is completely different from what she's thinking about. Lol. It's weird detailing out my ending so much when I'm still ironing out my first scene. Oh well. Gives me something to look forward to, I guess. :)

  2. Oh I love tie-in's to music :) That'd be great! And its actually really smart to write from the beginning with the end in mind, if you can, just for the sake of that weaving. It makes it come more naturally so you don't have to go back!

  3. Yeah... I've found that while it's great to have options when writing, it is possible to have too many options. In order for that ending (which I absolutely LOVE) to work, there is a sepcific subplot that has to happen. I don't know... That may just be comforting to me -not having as many options, that is.

  4. I think I figured out my subplot problem :) but I'm totally looking forward to what you guys have to say about them!

  5. Not to burst anyone's bubble....but I like Silas Marner. And weaving is cool. There - I said it. :) Thanks for this post, Betsy.

  6. Alicia! lol So someone does exist that likes it?? Who knew?? ;) I think I got jaded by the make-your-own-loom situation....hahaha Totally nothing against weaving and knitting and sewing or any other use of fabric - but 10th grade English? REALLY?? (She also made us memorize the entire poem by E.A.Poe "The Raven which at least makes a little more sense)

    1. That is too funny. :) I am a historian, so, well, I would have probably enjoyed it!!! :)

  7. That is an awesome way to think about it! I'm still a fair way from finishing my NIP, but I can begin weaving in those threads.