There is an old saying among authors: The beginning of your book sells that book. The ending of a book sells your next book. A plethora of information can be found on the web re: writing a great beginning. Advice on how to write that great ending is a bit more scarce.
I sail through the beginning of my books. I march through the middles. But endings often leaved me stumped. I ponder. I procrastinate. I try a scene out in my mind…and then I change it…and then I change it again…and then again…
Endings are hard. Endings are messy. No matter how clever the resolution, so much is left unsaid. Promises are left unfulfilled, dreams left to wither. Friendships are strung like fraying rope bridges over a chasm.
Yeah, endings are hard. But they are necessary.
This morning I ponder a real-life ending in my own life. Not to the whole book, of course–I plan to be here living and loving and learning for many years to come–but to a chapter called “Search One Rescue Team.”
More than nine years of service will likely come to an end today.
Yeah, endings are hard. Endings are messy.
Like any good writer, I’ve played the scene out a thousand times in my head. Should the character take the strong, direct approach? Play it with a softer, more wistful tone? Perhaps shag back to the carefree fool or hit the truth hard with a maniac rampage and see how long it takes people to start walking out of the room?
In the end, it won’t matter. People will do what people will do, including me. What matters is that in my years of service to Search One Rescue Team I’ve had hundreds of experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. And I have only one regret. That’s not a bad ratio.
Today won’t be about endings, it will be about taking one small step to right that regret.
Whatever the outcome, I’m at peace. Because as a writer I’ve hit on that one jewel that will make it all okay. I’ve stumbled on the Best. Exit. Line. Ever.
Sorry, but you’ll have to stay tuned to see what it is. After all, the rest of the scene hasn’t been written yet!