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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Confession: I don't know the ending either

I have a confession.

As confessions go, it's kind of a doozy for a writer to be laying out 55,000 words and two years into a novel.

I confess: I don't know the ending, either.

No, I'm not kidding you. To date, there is no ending. I had thought that the ending would just come to me. In my regular life, I'm a very pragmatic person. I believe in cause and effect, in the practical, in the sensible and worldly. In other words, I am schmantastic. As a writer, though, I'm a believer in muses, divine intervention, and willful characters that create their own endings. If you told me a magical unicorn would give me a magical unicorn pen that wrote the entire finale of my novel, I'd probably believe you.

I do write fantasy, after all.

Write with me and all of your problems will disappear.

In my defense, this has always worked before. Not the unicorn thing. Although that would be cool. No, I mean that I always just start writing with a basic plot in mind and things just sort of happen. It's all very organic -- the ending is the ending that the novel wants to happen, you know?

Or maybe you're on of those people who knows what they're writing before they start -- coughjerkcough.

... the jerk cough doesn't work very well when typed out ...

In any case, apparently nobody told this novel that it was supposed to write its own ending. Or if they did, then this novel is your lazy slacker brother who will "get to it eventually". But why did you even bother asking? You know you're just going to end up doing it yourself.

When I started writing, I had ideas. I planned. A lot. I wrote detailed biographies of my main characters, I wrote out a sequence of events to give my novel meat, I charted subplots, I detailed the fantasy world down to the final puddle on my fictional map. I spent over two months just charting the damned thing. But I didn't write an ending.

It's a bildungsroman, I thought, it has a plot built in. Coming-of-age is totally a plot. Although, it's kind of a plot without climax or resolution when you consider that I only got so far as, "my character is an outcast" and never really worked on those trivial details like, "where does that take her?", "does she find a place?", "what is the place she finds?" and any other question about plot development or resolution that is NOT ACTUALLY HYPOTHETICAL.

210 pages into the story, I finally found some of that divine intervention I was hoping for, and I skipped forward and wrote the epilogue -- an emotionally sating, powerful, purposeful epilogue.

The only problem remaining being that I have no idea how to get there. Because the truth is, the epilogue isn't a resolution at all. It's a nice little wrap up -- it's the ribbon bow on your Christmas gift. Nevermind that the gift is half-wrapped in the coffee stained classifieds section of the newspaper. The bow is pretty, anyway.

It's not hopeless. That's why we do the reread. To rip off the ugly classifieds and rewrap the whole thing in the beautiful crisp shiny silver paper with the perfect creases.

And the gift itself is good. I know the direction my character is heading. I know the story, we've had some great adventures. I know where she ultimately ends up.

I just have yet to figure out and write the part about her getting there.

Talk about plot holes.


Does missing 100+ pages, including the climax, count as a plot hole?

1 comment:

  1. Fill in all plot holes with "...and then a miracle occurs.." or "...a bunch of stuff happens to our protagonist and then...". :)
    Or you could take the Stephen King route (ala The Stand) and just set off an atom bomb to wrap everything in a bow.