The Writer Encourager

Writing The Finale

For those part of #nanowrimo, you’re in the last five days of your novel. It’s time to begin writing the last chapter, or finale of your book. This can be very rewarding, but you also want to check off a few things.

First on the checklist, tie up lose ends. Are there any plot holes, or disconnections for the reader? Have you clearly explained the motives of those involved?

Think of it this way, if it were a mystery, have you given enough clues to solve the case? Will the reader go away saying, of course, didn’t see that coming, or the writer took the easy way out? Even if you give an expected answer, build in a little surprise at least.

Second, if you introduce a surprise at the end, you need to make it one of these types. The first is the magician’s illusion. If it’s a total surprise, make it one the reader will smile at.

A magician’s first goal isn’t to trick the audience, but to entertain them. He will trick them in the process, but they expect that. As long as he attempts for the trick to serve them, and not be served by them. Don’t leave the reader feeling like you cheated them.

Another option is to make it a realistic surprise. You can make it believable. That means either, it could happen in real life, or that it was hinted at different times in the book, though not expected.

Yet another tool is introducing the next adventure, if you’re planning a follow up. Most trilogies have a self contained ending for that book, and a broader theme for the saga as a whole. This is harder to do, but it is doable.

Third on the main checklist is, make it grand. That doesn’t mean explosions and car chases. It does mean that the climax of the book should feel bigger than the events that came before. There are multiple ways of doing that, but for time I’ll give you an example.

Let’s say your story was about the life of a king, who fought great wars. The last battle should feel more climatic, even if it’s of an old ruler setting on his throne battling with age. As he struggles with emotion, pain, and despair, his grandson enters and climbs on his knee. Happiness has overcome all the questions and passage of time, and he is renewed in the face of a loving child.

There was no clash of swordplay, but you gave the reader a villain more deadly than a black knight. You also gave the hero, happiness and family, weapons more powerful than Excalibur. Your ending doesn’t have to be a similar event to others in the book, but it should to be more powerful.

We could spend hours on endings. We will talk more about wrapping up the next few days, but you’ve got a finale to write. You’re in the home stretch, you’ve almost completed your writing project, and accomplished a dream. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey. Now write your finale!

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