So I’ve been hard at work on my next book, which I’m still hoping to sell to a publisher. I’ve been making great progress, but there’s one issue I’m still undecided about. It has to do with the ending.
When I started this book, I already knew how most of it would play out. I know how I wanted to portray the characters, the relationships, and the overall structure of the story. However, I’ve learned in my many years of writing that when it comes to writing endings, I have plenty of room for improvement.
It goes like this. We all know how frustrating open-ended endings can be. Anyone who saw “The Sopranos” finale can attest to that. However, there are many ways that kind of ending can work. Sometimes it’s good to leave certain details up to the reader. Otherwise, you risk having the story drag when it doesn’t have to. Nobody wants their stories to drag. I, like every other writer, want to hold my reader’s interest.
In the past, I’ve opted to be more detailed with my endings. In Skin Deep, I went so far as to provide an epilogue that skipped ahead in time to depict the aftermath of the main story. I did something similar in The Escort and the Gigolo, albeit in a less detailed manner. For most of my stories, I’ve tried to provide some extra layer of detail to help add polish to the story. Sometimes it work. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Make no mistake. There IS such a thing as an ending that’s too detailed. When you lay everything out all neat and clean, it ceases to be much of a spectacle. There’s no room for discussion or speculation. As such, it becomes forgettable, like a movie you only see once and never feel inclined to see again. That might work for some stories, but I don’t want my stories to be that forgettable.
The story I’m working on now is one of those stories that can go either way. No pun intended. I’ve already identified a certain point where I can stop and leave the readers to fill in the rest. I also have a few notes that I could turn into an epilogue of sorts, one that’ll explore what happens beyond the main story. I can’t decide which approach to take this time. It depends on the tone of the book once I get closer to the end. Like I said though, this is one area in my writing I think I need to improve more than most. I’d like to start that process with this book. If I can get a publisher to sign on, maybe I can get that process moving.
Hope to have more updates on this and my other projects soon.