Why I Like Writing Endings

Posted on March 15, 2011


I recently wrote the climactic scene for a story that’s been giving me trouble since December. (Note: I say “climactic” instead of “the last” because it was what I think of as the last difficult scene. There are still a few character parts to write, but those are easy as breathing. The climax was a fight scene, so that was the last big hurdle.)

And it was wonderful.


Well, there’s the obvious reason: it means I finished something. When I find problems in drafts, they are usually big problems. I have to rework the character’s backstory. I realize halfway through that the romance was completely wrong. Or I get a cool idea for the plot and have to start over because it needs foreshadowing. You know. Things like that. This story is still not technically finished, but it *is* the first big finished chunk, and that’s a good feeling.

But there’s something more important going on here. When I wrote the part *after* the big climactic battle, I realized something about one of my main characters. This is a character who has been giving me trouble since I invented him. I agonized over the scenes that introduce him because I could not figure out what I was trying to do and to what degree. Then I wrote a sweet little scene between the character and his foster father which more or less ends the character’s arc for this section, and suddenly, everything made sense. I knew what I needed to do to make the beginning work.

That is why I like writing endings. My beginnings never stay the same: I go after the first beginning line I can think of because I know by the end of the story I will have changed it half a dozen times based on the things I realize once I get further in. Middles are horrible. I hate being in the middle of a story. I lose all perspective and get very depressed. But endings…

Oh, once I hit a certain point, then it is all sweetness and light, and I remember why I started the story in the first place. I reach the points I’ve been wanting to write since the story was just a seed in my mind. And, more importantly, once I have an end, the story has a shape, and I can finally go back and fit the rest of it into that shape. It’s a wonderful feeling.

Posted in: endings, Writing