Those Two Little Words: The End

I just wrote a book, but don’t go out and buy it yet, because I don’t think it’s finished yet. ~~Lawerence Welk

I’m pretty sure most writers can relate to this quote. Two tough words for me to write has always been “the end.” As soon as those words are down I begin to have doubts. Is the masterpiece I slaved over for months or years truly finished, or have I just talked myself in to believing that this is the best I can do? Maybe, instead of writing “the end” I should simply write, “The End, I hope.”

This winter, while I was hard at work on my WIP, I thought I had come to the end on several occasions. In fact, I stubbornly declared at one point that no matter what, I was calling it complete, and nothing, but nothing, was going to change my mind. I mean, after all, if we don’t stop writing at some point we could continue to write on the same piece for the rest of our days. Let’s face it, there’s always something that can be improved upon.

So right when I thought nothing was going to change, that I was to write no more ( I delared it, I truly meant it so it must be so) something made me have a change of heart.

After feeling pretty good about coming to the end, I woke up one morning with a thought in my head that I needed to change a part of the story–a substantial part. Did the thought come to me in a dream? I’m pretty sure.

Now, how can you ignore something like that? I figured I might just as well experiment and see what I came up with even though I had my doubts. How was I going to show certain scenes in the story if I changed the POV to first person? How?

Although I do like first person it is limiting to some degree. The person narrating the story is not privy to everything that is going on, and yet life goes on around them and their own lives are impacted by the actions of others.

Sometimes when I have a story all figured out I forget the fact that nothing is written in stone. So what if a few things have to be changed in the plot, no big deal. A writer has to be flexible and a story needs to bend and sway sometimes.

Keeping in mind that it was something I was going to try on for size, I knew if I didn’t like it there would be no harm done. Almost immediately, I felt it was the right choice. Even though this changed some of the scenes in the story, I came to realize it was a matter of figuring how to tell this same story in a slightly different way. Sometimes the challenge in writing is figuring out the best way to tell the story, and it’s not always the way I thought it was going to be. And you know what? I don’t always get it right the first time, and neither will you. Sometimes it will take many attempts before I write those two little words and mean it, really mean it.

The end..

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23 Comments

  1. I do SO relate to this. Right now I know I must make changes to my MS. I feel overwhelmed by the time I need to concentrate on it. The hours are not available right now. On the other hand, maybe if I start out, I can accomplish it in little increments. Motivation is what I lack, perhaps. Blessings to you, Laura…

    Reply
    • Glad you could relate to this post, Carol Ann. I know one writer who committed to writing 100 words a day. It may not sound like a lot but it all adds up. It sure beats writing no words a day. Here’s hoping you find a way to motivate yourself. Have faith. It will come to you at the right time.

      Reply
  2. I hear ya! I’ve only written The End once but it was a great feeling… for five minutes until I changed the story. *laugh*

    Reply
    • Ah yes, remarkable how things can change in the blink of an eye, how we can trick ourselves into believing, for even a few moments, that we’ve actually come to the end and can/will stop writing.

      Reply
  3. “….nothing is written in stone…” Believe me, the Ten Commandments and every threat my mother made were written in stone.

    Reply
  4. I’m one and a half chapters from the end of my current WIP. I was feeling pretty good about myself because the end was near. I struggle during the middle parts. But I was almost finished and wow, I visualized sending it onto my publisher, turning to a new work, or an newer almost completed WIP. Until I checked the word count and it turned out to be 25 thousand too many words. Drats.

    Great post, Laura.

    Reply
    • Sometimes cutting can be more challenging than adding especially if we are forced to remove parts that we absolutely love. You have a big job ahead of you, Joylene, but I have no doubts you will have this fixed in no time.

      Reply
  5. I don’t think there is ever an “end” to a novel. After what seems like thousands of revisions and edits, it still seems to haunt you. Even after it is published, I think perhaps I should have done this or that……. I love the Lawerence Welk quote, perfect!

    Reply
    • I’m shaking my head here becasue I do remember that “haunting” feeling after all the work was done on my novel. It is difficult to let go.

      Reply
  6. It’s so funny how timely (as ever!) your latest post is. I’m in the midst of contemplating writing the end of a novel (again), plus I’m coming to the end of a short story (for which I have three ending ideas and no clue as to which one to run with).

    I’ve heard Diana Gabaldon comment about this exact thing too, and know more than one author who, upon rereading an older published work, has said something to the effect of, “Ack!” and gone on to say how they wished they could change the ending, add more of something here or there, or change this or that . . .

    For now I think I’ve accepted that fact that a stories are never entirely finished or done, but they can be done _for the time being_. ;)

    Reply
    • We always seem to find the right information at the right time, Ev. The Universe knows just what we need.

      As much as we look forward to writing those two little words no one said they would be so difficult. We might just as well admit to the fact that in all likelihood we didn’t really mean “The End” but was simply toying with the idea. ;)

      Reply
  7. Unabridged Girl

     /  June 14, 2011

    Great post! Hopefully I get to the point where I can be nervous about putting “the end” down.

    Reply
    • Thanks for dropping in…If you keep writing eventually those two words will emerge onto the page. :)

      Reply
  8. I never, ever feel finished. As a reader, the closing…the very last page and paragraph of a book can make or break how I feel about the entire story. Oh the pressure!!!

    Reply
    • I think many people feel that way. I had one person say their husband didn’t care for my book because he wanted to know more about what would happen to the Burbidge children. Since the story ended up on a positive note I felt the ending was satisfying. We all have different tastes. A story must eventually end some place or else we’re stuck writing a series that could go on forever.

      Reply
  9. “The end, I hope.” Love it, Laura!

    Reply
  10. Well whenever or however it is done, I’m sure it will be a great read! :)

    Reply
  11. Thank you so much for your commnents and ever flowing wisdom. Thank you for reminding me that writing is not a race to perfection but rather a journey in following where the story leads you

    Reply
    • Oh you are most welcome. I’ve come to realize that we are all here to help one another in whatever capacity we can. We are all teachers as well as students. We learn from one another and offer support when it is needed , and it seems to me the path can be pretty lonely if we choose to walk it alone.

      Reply
  1. Those Two Little Words: The End (via Laura Best, author) | Of a Writerly Sort

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