Don't Forget the Bang

First, who names a kid Wadsworth? I mean, come on, the teasing he must have gotten. I don't know; I haven't done the research, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that it must have been a family name. But still. My grandmother is a Rahmoeller. You won't find THAT in either of my kids' names! Just sayin'.

As writers, we have a plethora of resources available to us dealing with how to begin our books or short stories, our articles and essays, but just how often do we see books dealing with how to end our stories? There are plenty of articles if you search them out, but we seem to be most concerned with the beginning. I get it. After all, if you don't grab a reader at the beginning, the ending doesn't matter much. However, how often have you read an article or book and found the ending disappointing or unsatisfying? I've read books that seemed like the author ran out of steam and just quit. I was left feeling cheated. I'd invested time and energy into the characters and the story line only to be dropped by the side of the road, without direction.

A cousin of mine, who earned his Ph.D., told me once that he'd received a great piece of advice early in his quest to write his dissertation. A friend told him to write the ending first. Having done that, he'd have something to work toward, a goal to steer his story toward. Now, I know, if you're a novelist, you need to let your characters lead you. However, having an ending in place can still help you get to that place where you can tie off the ends in a satisfying way. Just because you've written it, doesn't mean you can't revise it. However, it does mean you don't spend sleepless nights wondering how in the world you're going to finish your masterpiece with a bang, because the last thing you want is for the bang to fizzle.

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