Wednesday, June 3, 2020
For those of you who don't know, the title stands for "That Feeling When."
As I near "the end" on one more book, I'm running into that feeling when I don't want the story to end, but I want it to end. I want do be done, but I don't want to rush to the finish line. When writing a story, there's nothing worse than rushing to tie up all the loose ends in a very convenient bow.
I read a book recently where once the author wrote the climax, the point that the story was leading up to where everything comes out into the open and generally does some sort of damage, they packed all the loose ends into neat little packages. Sometimes those loose ends aren't neat, nor should they be. Consider shows or movies where the villain tells the person he's about to kill all about his evil plan instead of just pulling the trigger. Yes, sometimes that's the only way you can reveal how they got there, but I will admit to wondering why the villain just offed the one guy but stopped to chat with the main target. Savoring the kill doesn't hold water with me most of the time.
And so I'm finding myself in this same boat. I'm about to write the climax. I know what's going to happen, but I'm not sure how it's going to unfold. In leading up to this point, I had written a section that showed a moment of clarity, rather than letting it play itself out. When I re-read it, I realized it would carry much more impact as an "aha" moment. "Where had she seen that look before?" AHA! Well, something like that. I was pretty proud of myself for seeing it was too convenient as originally written. Yes, I am still growing in my writing journey every day.
Which brings me back to finishing. I have to walk my character into a potentially dangerous situation and bring her out on the other side, and then I have to show the reader how this has changed her life for the better. That's what books do. They show character growth or resolution of a goal, or both. So once we get to the other side, I need to explain why we traveled the roads we did to get to this point. Why did I point out that particular landmark along the way? And I have to do it in a logical, believable way instead of throwing my characters to the wolves and saying "you have to do this so that the story works the way I want it to." Funny, but too often, the characters tell ME how the story works out. I think it's better that way. After all, walking this journey with them all this way, I don't want to betray who they are now. Add in that there are reader expectations for the type of story I'm writing.
Which brings me to that feeling when the story comes to an end. I want to part with these characters as friends, hoping that one day we might see each other again - especially when the books are part of a series. And I don't want readers to say things like "well, that was a little too easy." My characters need to stay true to themselves, and true to the way the real world works, or at least the the extent the world they live in works.