Unruly endings

So this was going to be a post about the unruliness of story endings, about how you have all these threads you’re trying to bring together and tie off and how in the first few drafts they fight you and keep pulling out of your grasp, leaving frayed ends everywhere. And then I thought about how in Bones, there was a whole extra scene in a whole other place that just didn’t fit there and made the threads splay out in too many directions, and how I once thought that scene would be at the end of this book too, but it wound up not belonging here either, and wanted to be in some other someday book.

And then I realized that, wait–unlike in the first book, that deleted scene actually does belong in this one–or rather, a climactic scene from the end of this book needs to move to the setting of that deleted scene and take on elements of it–and that if I do that, all those unruly story-ending threads will suddenly start clicking together rather than splaying apart.

And then I thought: but I liked the last 13,000 words I wrote. And: but I was so close to the end.

No matter. If this new thing is the thing the story wants, then those 13,000 words were part of the path to get there, rather than a thing in themselves.

Of course I have to try the new ending, and see if it really does bring things together the way I right-this-moment feel so certain it will. Whatever I find, following that new path is part of the process, too. And I’ve learned that when that sudden realization makes pieces begin to go click, click, clickety click, I ignore it at my peril.

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