The Greatest of These…

If I write a story to rival Hemmingway or Steinbeck, but have not an ending, I am only a whining blogger or a pathetic author wannabe. If I have the gift of prose and can understand the difference between “lie” and “lay”, and if I can write for thirty days straight, but have not an ending, I am nothing. If I pour everything I have into every page, but have not an ending, I gain nothing.

The ending is important, the ending is paramount. It does not leave you hanging, it does not leave you disappointed, it does not peter out into nothing. It does not annoy, it does not anger, it does not cause readers to petition for a “zero star” rating. It always satisfies, always suits, always gratifies.

The ending should never fail. When I was a child. I wrote like a child, I plotted like a child, I mixed up verb tenses like a child. When I became a writer, I tried to put childish ways behind me. When perfection comes, the pesky imperfect middle chapters are forgiven. This I finally realize, though I knew it all along.

So remember! Every story has three parts: beginning, middle, and end. But the greatest of these is the end.

(I’m screwed…)

8 Responses to “The Greatest of These…”

Sagan said
February 4, 2010 at 1:16 am

When I can’t find the ending, I just cut off the story abruptly wherever I’m having troubles. Get a nice little cliffhanger going. Then, if you come up with an ending later on, you’ve got some material for a sequel 😉

Tami said
February 4, 2010 at 10:11 am

Wisdom, indeed. =]

TexasDeb said
February 4, 2010 at 11:13 am

Crash! A sturdy box containing a pet peeve has been knocked off the table and broken open.

I wish you’d send this post to the author of “Leviathan”. That story crashes to a halt in what is surely a set up for another book in a series. Which I will not buy or read, because while the premise had promise, the characters are unbelievable as teens.

That said, with well written YA series becoming such money machines for some publishers, apparently it is now allowable for a slow paced story to be stretched into multiple books, the way some television series are padded to take two hours of material into 5 shows (with commercial breaks).

Thank you in advance, Charlie, for resisting the impulse to go endingless into that good night. Fellow Readers! Fight for your rights of resolution! Resist the NoEndingsFoundHere stories!

OK. Done.

Jason said
February 4, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I can think of endings, but as my writing approaches that part of the book, it turns to slop. The epic battles in my head, the reunited lovers, the sweeping New Zealand sunsets, all collide in about 2 pages, half of which is dialog.

Biz said
February 4, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Aw, Charlie – hang in there! Sorry it hasn’t come together yet, but knowing you, I know it will!


Love, your prettier sister 😀

Jess said
February 4, 2010 at 1:20 pm

I struggle so hard with endings, but then I realised I love Neal Stephenson, who has only written one great ending in all the books of his that I’ve read…which is just about all of them.

    Charlie said
    February 4, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    So does that mean you’re okay with non-earth-shattering endings because even one of your favorite authors can’t do it every single book?

Anonymous said
February 5, 2010 at 5:54 am

I hope it turned out okay!