Never Can Say Goodbye

I am having a bit of difficulty ending my novel. At this point, I’m well over the 90,000 word goal, but I’m discovering the challenge of easing my characters into a denouement. Jokingly I told a friend that I’d considered dropping a nuclear bomb on the town the characters reside in. It would be messy, sure, but it would definitely be the end.

To paraphrase what one wise sci-fi author told me in a conversation on Twitter, there’s never really an end. Don’t expect to be able to tie everything up in a nice package with all the loose ends accounted for. That’s not how life works.

He’s right, I know, but that bomb still seems like a plan. Is it too late to change genres? Asking for a friend.

Peace, people.

Author: nananoyz

I'm a semi-retired crazy person with one husband and two cats.

37 thoughts on “Never Can Say Goodbye”

  1. An idea, young Leslie. I’m presuming you have an idea of the ending, maybe a specific concept of what you want? Try this. Take one too many glasses of red, all the time thinking, ‘How can I make this happen in a way the reader would never expect?’ Pen it while the worse for drink, then edit come the new day. I should add I’m likely the last person anyone would seek advice from!

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  2. Les, …tell your friend that you could end it with a COVID-22 virus…your friends in the novel have dinner together and one character spreads it to the rest, and it is fatal except for the carrier…..who lives to begin your follow up novel…..readers love following characters from book to book , like Reacher etc…..he realizes he has it , it is not fatal to him , and he seeks out bad people and gives it to them to kill them …like Bronson in all the Deathwish movies……….or they can ride into the sunset of the nucleur bomb on motorcycles holding hands

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      1. A whole bunch. I’m actually at 103,450 words right now. Well over 400 pages. It needs a lot of editing down, I know. Once it’s finished I’ll print it out and send it off to a couple of people I trust to be honest with me. I’ve read it so many times that my eyes have started to cross.
        Truthfully, I think I wrote the climactic scene too early in the book. I’m hoping other eyes and minds will help me figure out how to remedy that.

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    1. In my case, the beginning was fairly simple. And of course that makes me nervous. But I love what you just wrote. My ending needs to feel like going home from a great party. 💃🕺My characters have had a roller coaster experience for the past week of their lives, but they’re emerging stronger, having made new connections and gaining new understandings of who they are and what they can accomplish.

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  3. Ah, the old “getting run over” method. I’ve seen several movies now in which the screenwriter, clearly unable to figure out how to end the damn thing, just has the main character unexpectedly hit by a car and killed. I guess that does…end?…things…but it’s kind of unsatisfying for the viewer. All of that to say, please don’t go with the nuclear bomb option, tempting though it might be.

    On the other hand, some of the most satisfying book endings I’ve ever read didn’t tie up the loose ends at all. I like to think of those endings as “inconclusive but meaningful.” They didn’t really finish things, but something was said or done on the last page which meaningfully summed up what had happened in the story, the changes the characters had gone through, etc.

    Hope this helps, and best of luck with that final chapter 🙂

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  4. I knew from the beginning how mine would end. I had it all laid out in a way that made me happy. Then my editor got a hold of it and laid a whole lot of honesty on me about how things really don’t ALL need to have a nice clean bow tying it all up perfectly. It was one of those things that was REALLY hard to do but I was so happy I changed when it was all said and done. Granted, my genre isn’t the same as yours and you probably have more flexibility with how you can end things. Probably way more fun ways, too!

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  5. I think that when an author tries to tie everything up neatly, much of the plot becomes contrived. Tie it up for a few major characters, leave the rest to question, and make sure there is an opportunity for a sequel. OK, I know that was easy for me to say, not being the one writing the book 🙂 Good luck!

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