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The Misery of Writing Endings

Posted by Charles Gray on January 23, 2014

Charlie Jane Anders on IO9 makes some very good points about possibly the most miserable part of writing a story: The ending.     At the end, there’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever read about this subject:

 

This is really the number one thing, for me — if I get stuck, I have to go back and ask why I was writing this story in the first place, and what I wanted to explore in it. What stuff from my own life or the world at large, or what bigger ideas. And the more I have a clear sense of what the larger or more personal questions are, the closer I can come to answering them in a way that satisfies me, personally.

And that’s really the key — you can never create the “perfect” ending, or an ending that is guaranteed to satisfy everybody, everywhere. But you can know with a lot of certainty that you’ve created an ending that works for you personally, and that concludes the story you set out to tell. And most of the time, that’s the ending that will make other people feel like you nailed it, too.

All too often, we get tied up in the mechanics of writing. It can be very easy to fall into this trap, especially in today’s world of computers that display a story one page at a time.  Sit back, think, and try and come up with an ending that reinforces the beginning and theme of the story, and you may find that you’ve managed to avoid this most miserable part in the writing process.

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