It isn’t easy coming to the end, which is something I’ve certainly been saying since I finished writing Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age. So, let’s go over some tips for those that are coming up on the same milestone. Warning: There is no promise of tips working because every journey is different. If there are any failures, we will assign you the proper scapegoat for free.
- Actually have an ending. I know it sounds strange, but there series out there with nothing. The whole thing simply ends with no real conclusion as if the author simply feel asleep on a comfy pillow. You might think it’s done, but everyone else is waiting for the other shoe to drop. Even if it isn’t a final battle, at least show the hero realizing they left a wild boar in the crock pot and should probably see if it’s done.
- Brace yourself for the flood of emotions by keeping tissues nearby and possibly a comfy pillow. Too manly to cry? Then get a keg and celebrate your accomplishment, which will result in you getting beer on the computer. Now, you have to write that final book all over again because you forgot to back it up. Oh, you want to cry now? Well, get your own tissues and comfy pillow, buddy.
- Don’t go over the ending over a hundred times because you swear something is wrong with it. A few times or even double digits makes some sense since things are never right on the first shot. Once you reach triple digits, you need to stop. Want to know what’s wrong with the ending? It’s an ending and you’re having trouble letting go, which is natural. Have a pint of ice cream and a comfy pillow.
- Try to have some idea of how things will end before you get there. Many series get derailed or fall into filler books because the author isn’t sure what the endgame is supposed to be. You don’t even need one. There could be multiple possibilities that get narrowed down to a single choice as the series proceeds. This might feel more like a plotter than a pantser tip, but flying without a map can only get you so far. At some point, you need to sit down on your comfy pillow and think of a conclusion even if it’s an hour before you write it. Don’t forget for it to make sense too.
- Curl up with your comfy pillow and research how other authors finished off their books. If you’re a fantasy author, watch LOTR and get an idea of multiple ending types in one sitting.
- Create a poll on your blog and see what people think of your various finale ideas. It will be a few hours later that you realize you just spoiled the entire book if you use anything on that list. After screaming into your comfy pillow, you check the poll to see everyone has picked the option that was you accidentally writing down your Taco Bell order as you yelled it to your wife. For the next week, you examine all of your books to figure out why people would prefer the whole thing ends with a Supreme Burrito, Cinnamon Twists, and two crunchy chicken tacos.
- Take up an entire wall of your room with character names, events, locations, and items that have played a part in the series. Connect everything with string where each color means something different. Spend weeks searching for patterns and foreshadowing that require attention. There shall be no loose ends and plot holes in your glorious finale. Continue going over your notes and forgetting to sleep since authors are notorious for getting great ideas just before passing out. One day, the perfect ending will click and you’ll be ready to write it. All you need to do now is convince the men in white coats to let you out of the room with comfy pillows on the walls.