The End of a Novel Appears….How?

You know how when you’re tired, and your vision kind of blurs, and everything fades together? And you can totally see things, but they’re faded and misshapen and fuzzy? Like this:

after writing for four hours straight, with blood caffeine levels at .12

after writing for four hours straight, with blood caffeine levels at .12

Well, that’s kind of where I’m at right now with my NaNoWriMo novel. I can “see” the end of “The Esclavan Abductions.” After a bit of thinking and planning and a dash of mental outlining (am I abandoning my pantser ways?) I think I have a definitely path plotted to the end! Sure, it’s fuzzy, but it’s there.

  • Execution of the book’s scumbag nobles, because that was kind of coming and I’d kind of forgotten it needed to happen. (Good one, Victoria….). With this scene from Princess Melinda’s POV, I can use it to put some kind of semicolon/stopping point in the storyline of her relationship with her guardsman, Danby. Then I can pick it up again in the next book.
  • The baddie sorcerer finally walks into an ambush that’s been set for him. I know which good characters will be there, and I can avoid creating a new one (I was worried about that.) Still don’t know if baddie will die/escape/be captured, but that’ll be the end of the book.

I introduce you to WRITER MATH (take a deep breath!): Sense of closure of main plot + hints of things to come (I’m only now figuring that they’re there!) + various paths left open to advance/deepen the bigger picture the plot takes place within = a pretty decent set-up for a series novel (I hope.)


This is pretty much always how the end appears for me: it starts with some fuzzy concepts of how I can wrap things up. Sometimes, when I actually arrive and my vision clears, I discover I was not seeing what was there but hallucinating. But walking step by step, things take form eventually and I get to where I’m going, as I said yesterday.

At least, after taking some time to plan a bit where I could go through the end of this novel (if not the rest of the series and the war with Esclavay), I feel like I have a handle on this. Onward!

How do the endings of your novels/short stories take form for you? Is your process similar to what I’ve described I experience, or totally different? Feel free to comment! This could be a fun discussion!


7 responses to “The End of a Novel Appears….How?

  1. projectmomentarily

    I’m not sure this fulfills any kind of literary equation, but for some reasons my stories often start with someone looking back on their life and then end with that too. So in The Green Dress we start with an older Zoe watching the light fade from the face of the man she loved as she remembers back to the night she wore that green dress and how it changed both of their lives when they were young, wild and free. So when we get to the end of that story and go back to her as an older woman, we have some idea of the loss she is struggling with as her partner literally forgets who she is and their life together. Zoe is telling all this to her daughter because she fears she is the only one left who remembers the moments that mattered to her family and she wants them to know and understand those memories. And she worries her grand daughter will pass through life without learning from her mistakes. So in her worries in the present and her memories of the past we have three generations of the one family and hints of the good and the bad things that kept them together. At first I thought The Green Dress was just another short story with a different end, until I realised it was both an ending and the beginning of a new story altogether. That’s when Project Momentarily- both the blog and the creative idea of serialising chapters that would become a novel- began.

    • wow, that frame sounds amazing for your story!!! for some reason–i guess because I write series fantasy–the idea of a frame doesn’t occur to me for my own writing. I do use one of sorts in the first novel I ever wrote but that book’s terrible over all.

  2. Unfortunately, in my novel, I have to go back and figure out why a character or storyline got added, because by the end, I had done nothing with them. I know it’s part of the learning process, but I will need to re-write huge portions because the main storyline needs more flesh and fewer distractions. It’s a great learning experience – that’s my positive spin when I’m frustrated!

    • oh, it’s most certainly a learning process!!! I have made SOO many additions and alterations after first drafts…. don’t forget–if a storyline or character isn’t adding anything–it’s okay to cut.

      I read an article once about COMBINING minor characters into one more important character…. I would never have thought of that myself! maybe that could work for a character you’re not doing enough with to justify him or her being there. just a thought

  3. Pingback: Dec 21! Time to write about the end of….a novel | Creative Writing with the Crimson League

  4. I have yet to find an end point for any of my fiction. Every good plot could potentially go on for generations and I like my characters a little too much to put an end (or even a pause to start a second “book”) anywhere. Not a good situation if I ever want to publish.

    • What you say is so true, Anna…. a good plot could expand for generations. My Herezoth novels do that! I’m sure you could find some place to cut the story to start a second installment? If you don’t feel you can, maybe having someone else read what you have and make a suggestion where to start book two?

      Once you decide, you can always rearrange some things to make the division stronger. That’s something I always forget, for some reason!

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