Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Build to Climax, or Slide Down Slippery Slope

For the past few weeks, I have reported how close I am to completing my story. I do truly believe there are only two or three chapters left. The problem, however, is that I am finding it difficult to figure out the details of the ending. I know how it will end, who will be the victor, and even how I will set up the third book from this conclusion. Nevertheless, thus far it is a fluid process and every time I think, “okay, this will happen, and that person will do X, which will result in Y,” I take a step back and discard the idea. Various issues induce these mental recalculations such as logic, reader experience, and character involvement.

Logic refers to an unrealistic chain of events based on the rules established throughout the book. Some of the alternatives pondered are simply not consistent with the norms found in the story. Reader experience is a matter of providing a conclusion that will satisfy conflict(s) introduced in the story in a way that will please the reader. For many months, I had a broad idea of how the story would end to set up book three (I don't want to give too many details here), but a few weeks ago I realized the ending I had envisioned would be very unsatisfying for readers. Fortunately, I think I have worked out conclusion that will satisfy both needs; making readers feel good about the conclusion and leaving the story open enough for the basis of subsequent tale.

This brings me to character involvement. Throughout the story, a core group of characters who should be a part of the finale were developed, but the issue is that I’m not sure what I want each character to do. I know who the hero or heroine needs to be, but the details of how he or she overcomes the villian or villainess keep eluding me. As I write this, I consider that maybe I haven't developed or transformed that character enough, or perhaps it's just a case of too many cooks in the kitchen. Of one thing I am sure though; I will figure it out sooner or later. On a final note, this is not a rant and I am enjoying the process, really, I am. If you have experienced similar issues, I would love to hear what you did to move past your sticking point.

Thanks for reading!



  1. A problem that you may have encountered is that you've written the story without a clear ending in mind before you started. Did you outline before you started chapter 1? How much? With you writing the story and waiting until the end to figure out the end, you've almost written yourself into a corner because if you make a radical, super cool, never expected ending, then will the story thus far make it believable? Or would you have to alter earlier material to make it work?
    If you have an ending in mind but you don't think the readers would enjoy it, perhaps look at the rest of the story to see if it led you to this point? COULD slight alterations make it something different to where a cooler ending would fit?
    I don't necessarily have all the details in mind, but I do know how my stories will end. The problem I have is the very very ending before THE END and how to actually finish the book.

    1. Thanks for the reply Stephen. I don't think I have written myself into a corner and I do know how it will end from the 30,000 foot view. The issue I am running into plotting the minute details of the climax and using the characters who I believe should be involved.

      When I started the project, I was an outliner, but I scrapped the outline about 20K words in, which provided a much richer story in my opinion. I do appreciate your input and thanks for reading!