- Image by Tony the Misfit (Getting Back) via Flickr
As writers we are told that our stories need to have a specific beginning, middle, and end but no one seems to know just where the end should go. Is it where the writer thinks it should be or where the reader needs it to happen? A more important inquiry might be whether or not we as writers can distance ourselves enough from our writing to see where the natural ending should come.
A great novel will end right where we as the reader think it should. Or at least we will be able to understand, given the rest of the story, why an author chose to end it where he or she did. A mediocre novel will end about two or three chapters beyond that point with no rhyme or reason.
And it isn’t just books that fall victim to this conundrum. Many of us have watched movies that seem to go on way past the logical stopping point. Maybe it is best to follow the old advice given to writers and artists: “Arrive late and leave early.”