It’s Hard to Write the Beginning When You Don’t Know the Ending

ImageSo this week in class we’re discussing the beginning and the ending of a story. Of course, there’s argument about which is more important…the beginning because you have to hook the reader, or the ending because you have to fulfill the promise you made to the reader throughout the entire book. Frankly, I think they’re equally important. If the beginning sucks, I won’t keep reading, and if the ending sucks, that author won’t see another dime from me.

Anyhow, I’m struggling with my ending. Everything I’ve learned says that the ending should be the final to-the-death moment between the protag and antag where all the cards are on the table. It should have the reader on the edge of their seat, biting their fingernails, hoping for the best (keep in mind what I write, folks. No unhappy endings here). And it should tie back to the beginning. My ending does not. In fact, I think the reader will be sitting on the floor on their hands they’re so bored with what I’ve got, and it has nothing to do with the beginning. At all. Granted, and I mentioned this in my previous post, I’m trying to crank out this ending (as well as the beginning) to satisfy an assignment for class and I’m writing out of order, which I don’t like. All of the “saggy” stuff in the middle that most writers have to contend with? Well, I have none…yet.

One of the things I’ve learned this week in our beginning/ending lecture is that ideally there should be parallels between your first scene and your climax/last scene. Something that brings the reader full-circle, if only in a small way. For me, this seems to be a cart-before-the-horse problem. I’m really struggling with my ending, not sure how it should all happen. So it’s hard for me to go back to the beginning and create those parallels. And I can’t really create the parallels in the ending based on the beginning because…well…I have no ending.

This probably seems trivial to you seasoned writers, but I’m struggling. I’m also struggling because I have no middle yet…nothing to hang my ending on. What I’ll probably end up writing for class will be nothing I use in my finished book (hell, even my draft), but I hope I can write something that presumably would draw readers in and make them happy.

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