Friday, March 11, 2016

When It All Comes Together

Endings are notorious for being difficult. Even some notable writers are notorious for lacking good endings in their books. Whether you're a professional or a struggling part-time writer, a good ending is crucial. After all that time spent on your book, you want the ending to do the project justice, and create some sort of resolution.

Funny thing, I've never struggled with endings. Beginnings are the bane of my existence as a writer. In pretty much everything I've ever written, I've fiddled with and scrapped beginnings, reworked them, and completely redone them. Endings have come easily. I've always had a firm idea, fairly early on in the story, of exactly how the ending would go down.

Except for this last project, Take The Man, my long-standing (long-suffering?) WIP and the grand finale of my adult equestrian series that I started when I was 16 years old. Almost 8 years of work has gone into this trilogy, and while it didn't land me a deal with a major publishing house or allow me to quit my day job, it at least pays for my yearly vacations. I owed it to my readers, my characters, and most of all, myself, to give it a fitting end.

My first novel, I flew by the seat of my pants, and every day was a surprise. My subsequent two novels (one of which is a non-horsey stand-alone) were meticulously outlined. And Take The Man? I wrote a blurb, but couldn't outline it. I had only a vague idea of where it was headed. I was back to the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach. I gave up control and let my characters surprise me, and they did, in beautiful and painful ways.

I did not write consistently over the winter, and I wondered if I would even be able to meet my goal of finishing it before spring, but 4 weeks ago, I began to build momentum. Suddenly, I was able to focus, to sit and write for longer periods of time. I was getting work done, and my brain was working. I still wasn't quite sure how it would end, but at least there were possibilities in my head.

More surprises occurred. New characters came to life, and established characters made changes and found happiness. Even heartbreak had a resolution. I was on a roll, and soon I knew how it would end.

I'm glad to have wrapped my series up. I'm at a different place in my life now, and it's time to take a break from writing, and then maybe write something completely different. But these last few weeks of writing reminded me how good it can feel when you're humming along on a project and everything makes sense.

In the end, being tired of this project actually made me a better writer. It made me less controlling, and my characters took over, guiding me to a fitting end.

Sometimes they just know best.

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