I just realized something: This might be a good time to talk about story endings! Or rather, MY story endings! Sorry, Animal Farm.
But George Orwell knows I’ve been disappointed by endings before. I wanted to make an ending that’s engaging. But how? I was concerned about this when I wrote the ending for the first book. I mean, the climax is done; the best part is over, right? What’s left to do? Have everyone talk about what they’ve learned? End with a line of pure and utter wisdom?
Yeah, some of that happened. But that doesn’t mean I have to leave all the conflict out. Why not make the aftermath a struggle? So that’s what I did: I had Mean and Dark struggle with the idea of his hidden identity. It was intense; I think they even spilled a soda.
I thought the scene worked so well I actually planned for it this time. Amazing stuff, this “experience.” Now THIS ending has struggles everywhere: King blames Mean for what happened to Parlay; Tome is suspicious about Dark; Darrow has a bit of a rivalry with Tenny.
But every conflict is quickly resolved or smoothed over with humor. I can’t leave the reader with an ominous feeling.
Well, here it is: the final chapter of the book. It always seems so far away when I start a draft and see that empty folder with a lonely file named “Prologue.” But that’s how it gets done: I just work at it every day until I reach the goal. And before I know it a year has passed and I’m sitting at my desk staring at a folder full of literary goodness.
Man, this is inspirational stuff. I sure hope an uncertain kid stumbles upon this blog someday. He’ll be searching for his purpose in life and then he’ll read this. It’ll probably motivate him to go explore Mars or something. Continue reading →
My friend Matt is watching Catching Fire instead of reading these awesome final chapters! Can you believe that? Hey! Matt! Did you enjoy the film? Did you like seeing the same frickin’ plot twice in a row? Hunger Games: this time with tridents! And clocks! The clock was a pretty cool idea, though. Continue reading →
I thought I’d try something new and put the second draft up before the first one. This is the finale, after all! Why should you have to read the crappy version first? And believe me; the first draft of this chapter is bad. I’ll still put it up, but I didn’t want to diminish your enjoyment as you move from the previous section’s cliff-hanger to this THRILLING CONCLUSION!
In the previous chapters I said that I wanted to change some of Pinada’s dialogue around. I cut out anything that was a petty insult, opting for lines that were more witty or sarcastic. That doesn’t mean that Pinada isn’t capable of stooping that low; it’s just that the time for such stooping hadn’t come yet.
But now it’s time. His case has been shattered. His face has been punched. Things have happened that he didn’t foresee. He’s still dominating this struggle, of course, but that momentary loss of control isn’t something he’s used to.
And it’s always so satisfying to see the smug, arrogant villain removed from his comfort zone–even for a moment. Continue reading →
Look, I’ve been loving this Lady Knight book over at Mark Reads. But I had a bit of a disappointing experience last week: I got to the last chapter and there WASN’T a climactic battle with the main villain. Can you believe that? Sure, there was a thrilling castle infiltration scene and an excellent fight with the warrior bodyguard–but when it came time to finish the head honcho himself? Done in two pages with little effort!
I’m not upset though; this is one of the reasons I wanted to write stories of my own. I realize that authors won’t always do what I want them to do. They’ll spend hundreds of pages hyping up a character. Then when he finally appears they’ll have him say a handful of lines before getting cut down in one stroke. I’ve come to accept it. They do things their way; I do things my way.
And what is my way? An epic struggle against the antagonist for seven straight chapters! YEAH–HA HA!
And if you don’t like it you can write your OWN story where the bad guy makes himself invisible and stands on a table. 😉 Continue reading →
Matt, I almost don’t want you to read the first drafts for these final chapters. It isn’t because they’re more horrible than the others. It’s just that I hate to see the ending incomplete like this! It’s flawed. I don’t want you to get to these cool parts and think “Wow, this would be amazing if the writing didn’t suck.”
It would be like watching the end of Terminator 2, only to see Arnold get dropped into a bowl of pudding. Then Sarah Conner fist-bumps John while the T-1000 explodes from the power of robot tears.
Oh, sorry, that ending would still rock. I know I was going for a “worse ending” there to use as an example, but I just can’t seem to describe one that would be disappointing. I’ll try harder next time Matt–go ahead and read the chapter. Continue reading →
Well, this chapter took a while. Was it tough? A little. This side-story with Mackaba needs to be handled carefully; if it doesn’t seem important enough the reader could lose interest in the finale.
But I gotta be honest: my immense resolve to write was tested. See, I got invited to the Hearthstone beta, and I might have spent a few nights playing cards when I should have been describing wind-swept landscapes and coming up with sarcastic things for government officials to say.
And then my friend Matt got into the game too! What am I to do!? Leave him to discover the deep mechanics of the cards by himself!? The Knife Juggler gnome card has complex strategies that must be explored!
I helped him out, and I’m lucky that he goes to sleep a few hours before I do–leaving me time to write without any excuses. Yep. Sometimes your willpower is only as strong as your friends’. Or at least it’s as strong as the wife that makes him turn off the game and go to bed. Continue reading →
I don’t normally talk about “feelings” and metaphors in my story, but the events of this chapter–and some events in real life–give me an opportunity to do so. Without spoiling anything in the chapter I will say it is about anger, and the prison it can create for a person. Lashing out in rage can seem like an outlet; but when it occurs it is anything but a release.
A few days ago a commenter in the Mark Reads blog ranted about some characters in Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce.It started out well enough, but he let his anger get the better of him: turning a constructive discussion into a full-on hate-driven rampage. It ended up hurting many taking part, even insulting the integrity of the author herself.
And this is where the “prison” part of anger comes in: he is now banned from the site forever. The excitement you feel from anger is short-lived; the consequences can be quite permanent.
Anyway, this chapter has something similar happen. In metaphor, of course. I mean, it’s not like I’d put in a LITERAL prison that’s set off by anger! Ha! That would be silly. Continue reading →