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Finishing


You don’t write a book to a word count, but there is a basic understanding between you and the publisher that the thing is going to be THIS long. And Melanie and I have written, well, almost THIS many words. So it’s time to think about how we’re going to end it.


Is there a right way to finish a story? A bunch of right ways? Is there a wrong way? I’m not big on rules for fiction. The only one that really matters is that readers aren’t bored. But there are a couple of approaches to ending that don’t sit well with me.


I’m not keen on tying everything up with a bow. “Hey day, are you all got together like players at the end of the last act?” jokes a minor character in The Way Of The World. I’m with him: let’s not make it too obvious.


But readers know the pages are running out. You can’t end in the middle of a scene with a character suddenly


See?


I have a sense of where and how I want this story to end. I know what Cody will have to face. But, darn it, my idea won’t make sense until next week. What are Cody and Autumn going to do until then? Can we introduce a cool character in the last pages? “Aha, it is I, Dishonest John, come to complicate things very briefly!”


Probably not.

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Richard Scrimger | scrimgerr@gmail.com | Toronto, ON, Canada