I read an interesting article in Newsweek yesterday. The topic was endings. In this particular article, movies were the focus, but I think the principles are the same.
The writer, David Ansen, talked about how movies these days try to go for the ending that satisfies everyone, not the ending that the story demands. He went after the big, happy-ever-after types, and those that try and whiz bang you into fanhood with millions of dollars of special effects, like a certain trilogy involving Pirates. He gave some examples of good endings, and most of them were obscure titles (I suspected as much when I began the article,) but he cited movies such as Titanic and Gone with the Wind. These two did NOT end happily, as we all remember, but it was the ending that the story required.
The article got the wheels turning in my head. Of course, I thought about the ending of my own story. Is it the right one? I admit that my novel has a pretty happy ending. It is YA, but still. I wonder.
See, my problem is that I am CONSTANTLY analyzing my novel in my head. A scrap of writing advice reaches somehow, in a book, a website, a passing breeze, and I am instantly scrutinizing my story. Truthfully, I am not sure that it is a good thing.
Well, at any rate, I think this advice was needed. I have been examining my ending with a harsh eye. It may still remain a happy ending, but at least I’ll know that the flow of the story required it.
Truth is, I know several things right off the bat that I want to fix. Towards the end there, I just wrote down any ideas for my book, vowing to go back and fix them once I finished the first draft. So, I have a list of about twenty things that I already know I want to improve.
The thing that is hard is knowing how best to go about it all. There are so many things to consider, so many things to keep in place. Character development, story development, the unfolding of information, the build up of tension. I know all of the things I need to do, but I don’t yet feel like I have a firm grasp on how to do it.
I have this image in my head of my story as a wolf. I have brought it into my home. It trusts me, but now I need to try and train it. I have a rough idea of how to do it, but it won’t be easy.
*backing away slowly* Nice wolf . . . niiiiiiiiiice wolf . . .
April 2nd. My birthday, and do you want to know what my best present was?
It was waking up this morning with the knowledge that there was a completed manuscript in my computer downstairs.
Oh yes. Sweet, sweet victory.
Well, truthfully, I am very pleased to have the first draft under my belt, but I am keenly aware of how far I have yet to go. But, still, finishing this draft gives me a huge boost of confidence. I CAN do it. I CAN write a novel. And now that I have written the end, the changes I need to make in plot and structure are much clearer. I can see my basic themes. It’s comforting to know exactly where I am going now. Completion of subsequent drafts will only take as long as it takes me to type the words. So, I’m pumped.
I’ll keep up with how the allegedly dreaded editing process goes. I should be able to post more often, now that I am not pressed up against a deadline. Although, come to think of it, since I am going to become a famous author, maybe I should get used to working against a deadline. *grin*