Trust me when I tell you—you’re going to want to sit down for this one.
The end of The Glass Wives used to be the middle. The current ending was somewhere around the 2/3 mark. The beginning used to be page 100, and the last 1/3 of the original manuscript that landed me an agent? It no longer exists.
No wonder I have a problem with endings, huh?
I seem to know the story I want to write, but not necessary the order in which the story should be told. At least not at first. My work-in-progress is a novel about a 39-year-old, recently divorced mom, who gets tangled up in an interweb of lies and secrets through her popular blog. In my synopsis, I think I’ve already drawn out the story longer than it needs to be. But maybe that’s the way my brain works! Maybe I have to have those extra pieces at the end to really find the crux of the story to shift around. After all, a pivotal scene still in The Glass Wives is something extracted from the deleted final 1/3 of the book. It wasn’t cut and pasted, it was the idea of what was going on in the original ending that I transcribed into the rest of the current book, culminating with one of my favorite scenes. (You can ask me after you’ve read it.)
So maybe I should just let all the ideas out, and then figure out what works.
Many people write the ending first, and I’m on that bandwagon. For my WIP, I’d like the ending to occur in the fall, and I know the setting (the zoo), the characters, even some of the dialogue. For me, this knowledge allows me to insure that I work up to it slowly, leaving crumbs along the way, although not too many.
Part of the mystique of The End is that it really isn’t the end at all. The best books, for me, are the ones that allude to more going on in the pages that do not exist. I love ambiguous endings and the ones that do not answer every question. I’m not much for series or sequels, although I do enjoy a thoughtful epilogue every now and then.
One of the best lessons I learned about endings was from reading John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars. (If you haven’t read it, it’s amazing.) Without any spoilers, the two main character love the same book and its author. They are crazed to find out what happens to the characters after The End. And the author, who’s a bit of a crazy curmudgeon, tells them that nothing happens because when the book ends, the characters cease to exist.
As harsh as it was—and as angry as I was at that character, I was also all “yeah, I know what you mean, pal.”
I have not contemplated or decided or pondered what might happen to the characters of The Glass Wives after the last page. Not once. And I don’t want to, quite frankly. Their story ends with The End.
Luckily, mine does not.
See you next year, Deb friends! xo