The Beginning of the End

To conclude my brief series of posts relating back to valuable lessons reinforced by last weekend’s Room to Write writing conference, how fitting will it be to end with endings.

I shall be brief.

Basically, a couple things were emphasized:

First, not all loose ends need to be tied up in a pretty, perfect bow; for the central conflict, yes, but other conclusions might be better left to the reader’s imagination—think Rhett Butler walking out on Scarlett O’Hara.  Do they  eventually get back together?  Your romantic optimism/pessimism will determine that, but Margaret Mitchell didn’t need to in order to effectively give her epic saga adequate closure.

Second, the ending of a story/novel should connect back to everything significant about the beginning.  The successful novels that we reviewed all shared in this aspect—they related back to character, setting, and conflict in creative ways, providing a sense of balance and resolution to our story’s main conflict.

In this way, the beginning and end stand together as “book ends” with all that good stuff in between, and as our climax tops out and falls toward denouement, we should keep that falling action brief—end it with a “flick,” as author Wendy Robertson put it succinctly with a visual flick of her wrist.  And as author Avril Joy stressed to me during some one-to-one consultation time, if I’m rising toward the climax of my novel (which I presently am), I should resolve it in a matter of a few pages or a chapter and not drag the ending out further than that.

I’m going to execute that advice in not dragging the ending to this post out…on that note, cheers, and keep writing!


About thefallenmonkey

Primate that dapples in writing when not picking others' fleas or flinging its own poop. View all posts by thefallenmonkey

5 responses to “The Beginning of the End

  • Avril

    Hi Colleen

    Now I’m back from Marrakech I’ve been catching up on your posts – I’ve really enjoyed reading your take on the RoomToWrite weekend – its good to know that the advice was valuable and that the experience was good – its sometimes hard to know how a workshop has been received, so feedback like this is great. Love the blog – some great writing – do hope we will see you in November by which time that novel will be finished!

    Avril x

  • thefallenmonkey

    Thanks for stopping by! My blog is still feeling out its identity, but it’s been a nice digression from the usual writing prompts to devote a few posts to the advice learned at RTW. I’m presently working through some revision on that novel to reduce some of the word count and set it up for cruising to the finish line…can’t believe I’m nearing that point. Have you found you truly miss your characters and their circumstances when you’ve finished writing a piece? I can tell I’m about to get reeeeally homesick for them. Am enjoying your blog so much and looking forward to following it further!

  • Fraying at the End « The Fallen Monkey

    […] all together right now.  I haven’t even been able to follow the advice I shared in ”The Beginning of the End,” back in March…yeesh.  And why, when the journey has already been so long and is so […]

  • POVs of the Published « The Fallen Monkey

    […] own writing.  Coming up in my next three blog posts will be further advice provided on beginnings, endings, and dialogue.  […]

  • Submitting a Novel for Publication – Part I: Macro-Editing « The Fallen Monkey

    […] this successfully. They also admitted that, in the interest of keeping your ending brief (the resolution should just be a “flick” after the climax) as well as ensuring your reader understands […]

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