While listening to the Writing Excuses podcast, more than once the authors comment on how they know the ending to their book BEFORE they start writing. One author — Dan I think — said he had to train himself to work on figuring out his ending before outlining the rest. . . but it’s helped immensely.
I’ve never known my endings till I got to the end of outlining the entire book. So I did some research to help me quantify / qualify what I’m looking for in endings. I’ve included the links to the sources I found for the following lists.
- Tie-Back / Loop
- Long View
- The Lead gains his objective (the happy ending).
- The Lead loses his objective (unhappy ending).
- The Lead gains his objective but loses something more valuable (classic tragedy).
- The Lead sacrifices his objective for a greater good.
- The ending is ambiguous or bittersweet (mostly for literary fiction)
- Lead has a new objective, as in a cliffhanger (I added that one; not on original list)
As the author, 6 Questions To Ask Yourself:
- Is the end inevitable? (Or would other endings make more sense?)
- Was the end hard won? (Or did the hero fall into his triumphs?)
- Does it make sense by every measure? (Or were vital steps glossed over?)
- Is the end long enough—deep enough—for the length and breadth of the novel? (Or does a 400-page novel get a two-paragraph resolution?)
- Are major plot points addressed without being overemphasized? (Or does the ending drag?)
- Are burning questions answered? (Or are they relegated to nothing status by the end?)
I’m off to work on the ending for the novel I plan to do for NaNoWriMo.
It’s definitely a change to start plotting an idea from the end of the story.