Many people struggle with how to end a novel. I know I did on my first one. You don't want to let the characters go. They've become family. You want to keep going with their story, but the interesting part of their lives is over. That's what makes the story. And after I finished Touched by the Sun, I learned that lesson.
Now, for me its a matter of tying up loose threads. As I finish Rising Mist, the third in the trilogy of the Kundigerin saga, I'm going back over breadcrumbs that I've left behind. I started writing this one during my busy season at work, which left me limited time to write. As a result, I wrote more summaries than prose fairly often, notes for where the story was going, what I wanted to address, comments my characters made to me that I wanted to include. It's a stop and start sort of process which doesn't work very well, and often leads to continuity errors (oops, she already did that, or oops, they don't know that yet) and sloppy writing.
Busy season is over. My first draft was nearly completed, and I'd gotten as far as the climax before I went back to fix all the mess I'd left behind, including discovering some of those loose threads I'd forgotten about, or the continuity errors that needed to be addressed. And now I'm back to crafting"the end." Years after my first novel, I understand better what that means, and because this is the last in the trilogy, I need to wrap up not only the loose threads in this novel, but also give the characters in the first two novels an appropriate send-off.
I've made a note of my open items and written more breadcrumbs to move me down the right path. The resolution is in sight. What have the characters learned? How have they grown? How will their lives move forward from here? All of this has been foreshadowed in the story, and must now be presented. I dropped a rather large bombshell on my heroine during the black moment (not part of the black moment, but certainly something she wasn't expecting). That left me an opening to explore another subplot, but this deep into the novel, I'm closing that loop fairly quickly. Otherwise I could be writing this story for many months to come. No, now is the time to wrap things up. To resolve the issues left unsettled and move these characters forward into their henceforth boring lives.
I've got this.
I have an appointment with my editor, and I'm working to polish the words I've written until they shine. Rising Mist, Kundigerin 3 should be available for publication late this fall. I'll keep you posted!