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Thread: The Climactic Ending

  1. #51
    Board Moderator J.T. Chris's Avatar
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    I am terrible with endings. Nothing ever seems to wrap-up neatly for me.
    "How can we know the dancer from the dance?" - W.B. Yeats
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  2. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by J.T. Chris View Post
    I am terrible with endings. Nothing ever seems to wrap-up neatly for me.
    Why? What do you mean? Example?

    I mean, most writers know exactly what issues they have created. So they wrap them up. Or decide it's okay not to.

    I suggested that the ending use elements from the story. If an author, trying to make success seem impossible, actually makes it impossible, then the author has to invent some new element. I suggested in this thread, and everyone kind of agrees, that isn't a satisfying ending.

    But I'm just guessing at what you mean.
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  3. #53
    This is weird. I came here this morning because I have a slight dilemma on how to end my current project, and here comes this discussion about climactic endings already in place. Wow!

    Anyway, in the beginning of the book, Declan Ahern moves into an apartment building on the north side of Chicago, where Maggie O'Connor has lived for most of her adult life (both are seniors). They meet, with Declan giving Maggie a fake name, become very close, and spend a lot of time together. He never tells Maggie where he is from, or why he is in Chicago.

    One night, as Maggie makes her way to Declan's apartment with her favorite chicken casserole for dinner, she finds that Declan has vanished, leaving no word as to where he has gone. There are vegetables boiling away on his stove, so it was a hasty retreat. Maggie is devastated and spends a lot of time over the next couple of years trying to find Declan, and what happened to him. During that time, she learns his real name and that he came from Kilkenny, Ireland. By then she tries to convince herself that she no longer cares about him, but that is far from the truth.

    In the second half of the book, Maggie finds out that she was adopted as a child, and her biological father just happens to live in the same town that Declan is from, Kilkenny. She travels to Ireland and finds her bio dad gravely ill and in a coma. As it turns out, Declan's family is close friends to Maggie's real father, and that's how I've set the stage for them to be reunited.

    Here's my dilemma: The goal of the book has always been to bring Maggie and Declan back together, and I'm eager to hear opinions on which would work better. Maggie has traveled to Ireland with her aunt who had written to Declan's father that they were coming to see Maggie's father, in the hospital. So Declan reads the letters and knows that Maggie's aunt (someone he knows from his time in Chicago) is coming to Kilkenny, but doesn't know that Maggie is with her.

    Should Maggie see Declan coming down the hall first? Or would it be more effective if Declan simply shows up in the hospital room, taking Maggie by surprise?

    I know this description is bare-bones; obviously, there is much more to the story, but just wanted some thoughts on a proper ending, if you can. Thanks so much!
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.


  4. #54
    Declan disappears in the middle of making vegetables. That's a mystery to drive your reader through the rest of the book, but you don't mention how that is resolved. So I think I am missing information. Being general . . .

    The standard is to have a lot of close calls. Do you do that?

    It would be nice if she found him through persistence, or being clever, or having some special connection. If you make it just a coincidence, that doesn't give your ending a lot of meaning.

    In The Opposite of Everyone, the MC finally finds her half sister, and the ending scene is them meeting. Will her half-sister like her? Yes is the answer, but the interesting thing is how/why. And the author started setting that up at page 1. In other words, if you can think of a really interesting ending, you can them reverse-engineer your book for that ending to make sense.

    For example, if they accidentally meet, it's awkward, and they are going to separate, she can reverse that with something from the first half of your book. If the relationship originally failed because she was shy, or prejudiced, she could have learned to get beyond that. There are lots of possibilities. If he left something more solid than vegetables, she could return it.
    Looking for people to beta a chapter or more of my book Modern Punctuation and Grammar: Tools for Better Writing. Go Hidden Content
    As always, useful information you can't find anywhere else.

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