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!

6 Responses to “Endings”

  1. 1 Loreth March 8, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Well, you’ve certainly hooked this reader. I’m hanging on to read your next scene …

  2. 2 Carolyn Williamson March 8, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Hi, Vickie,
    I’m sure you’ve given good service, but I hope you have something new and engaging to take its place. will you still be keeping extra dogs for the Humane Society?
    Carolyn Williamson

    • 3 vickietaylor March 8, 2011 at 11:45 pm

      Thank you, Carolyn. I’ll still be doing search and rescue for the state and federal disaster level, just not locally. And I have so many other fulfilling activities…writing, of course, but also enjoying my horses, and the animal rescue/welfare work I do for various humane organizations.

  3. 4 Sara Tierney March 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    You got my attention! And endings ARE messy. I experienced one this year already and I know what you mean.

  4. 5 selenablake March 15, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    >> The beginning of your book sells that book. The ending of a book sells your next book.

    Loved this so much I had to tweet about it. 🙂

    • 6 vickietaylor March 16, 2011 at 5:15 pm

      Thanks, Selena! I don’t remember where I first heard that quote. It was years ago…but is something I’ve lived by ever since. I want every page of my books to be incredible, of course…but I pay particular attention to those openings and endings.

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