Saturday, November 16, 2013

Too Much Ending? Too Little Ending?

I always know the beginning and the ending of my stories when I sit down to write them. Sometimes I even know a few of the major scenes but usually the characters and I go on the journey together from Point A to Point Z and discover the intermediate plot points together, which probably sounds weird to non-writers (maybe even to writers who are plotters LOL).

The beginning is what always hooks me, as the writer, to want to write the book. I get an interesting scene or situation in my head and I start going "What if..."

Normally I start the book in the middle of some action scene but occasionally I've strayed from that. With my award winning science fiction novel WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM,  loosely based on the sinking of Titanic, I envisioned the book as a classic disaster movie in my head, so accordingly I made the first quarter of the book about the hero discovering various thing aboard the Nebula Dream that made him ponder (new engines anyone?), a few action sequences (a deranged or possibly psychic passenger causing a near tragedy that our hero must prevent on the shuttle up to the spaceliner, someone nearly drowning in the onboard "ocean"  leisure area...) that were a set up for later events and/or mirrored things that happened on Titanic. Meeting the other main characters...A bit leisurely for some reviewers or Readers, as it turns out, but that was how I felt the bigger disaster needed to be framed.

And may I just say no one has complained to me about the pace of the action after the wreck occurs. Pretty nonstop "middle", if I do say so myself.

I also used to have a bad habit as an unpublished writer learning my craft, of including one or two chapters at the end of
the book that weren't really needed, where I had characters kind of re-telling someone else the major events the Reader had just read. Why, I do NOT know. (In the original early drafts of WRECK, the hero had to report out to his Admiral. OK, fine, military protocol and all, but um the Readers didn't have to be there for an after action report, now did they?) But my beta readers and editors broke me of of course then I over corrected and my kindly editors had to tell me I was rushing the ending too much now. Kind of like the final moments of the original "Star Wars" movie where you barely get a second to enjoy the happiness after the medal ceremony and OH it's OVER. Roll credits.

My lovely editor on WARRIOR OF THE NILE, Alison Dasho, worked hard with me to get me to slow things down a bit after the climactic battle with the enemy demons and the final confrontation with the Egyptian goddess Nephthys and let the hero and heroine savor the moment a bit (without retelling the plot of course).

I know my Muse and I will always be seat-of-the-pants in how we approach our storytelling. I think now that we've done the "too much ending" and we've done the "too little ending", we're hitting the happy medium!


  1. I have a definite tendency to 'rush the ending' in my first drafts. After having this flaw pointed out a time or two, I've learned to flesh it out more in rewrites, but I don't think I'll ever overdo it.

  2. Great write-up! I'm struggling with revising my ending right now. Your post gives me hope that even if I can't quite work it the way I want it, perhaps my beta readers and a good editor will help me out. By the way, what designer created those awesome covers for you?