Tuesday, January 29, 2013

On Ending Your Story

I'm a writer and this is a writer's blog.

I spend a lot of time here talking about my upcoming book but not about writing in the real sense and I'll tell you why. I don't think you can teach anyone how to write. I think writing is such a personal thing that it's almost impossible to teach someone because it becomes like teaching someone how to be like you. My writing is so personal, it's like trying to teach someone how to become Gregory. That's an impossibility because I'm a unique individual and to teach someone to be me is like trying to squeeze blood out of a stone.

The funny thing is that to be a writer it's best not to be taught to be one. To be a good writer you have to be yourself and see the world as you do, and once you come to grips with that you can be a writer in your own right. Maybe someone can show you a few techniques, which you will learn on your own just by reading the works of other writers, or you can make your own techniques. What the hell? Who's right when it comes to writing? There are tons of rulebooks on the subject, but do you want to know the truth? Only the reading public can say who's right and who's wrong. All of these books on the subject of writing can take a long walk off a short pier because you can skip all of their rules and if you become a bestselling author, all that literature proves to be just what it is, swill.

I'm not saying to ignore everything. There are some good suggestions out there, but for the most part you have to write your own story, and if a hundred people say it sucks, then you should ask them why. Maybe you do suck. But you have to be you. You have to write for you, and then if someone wants to share your journey with you then you can build a fan base. That's if an editor will allow you access to your audience. Editors and agents are the gatekeepers, and they stand in your way by deciding what is good and what is not. In fact, they don't even do that anymore. They decide what will sell a lot and what wont. They don't even read your material anymore.

But that's for another post. The thing that I'm talking about today is how to write a conclusion to your novel or book. Well, I'll tell you how I write a conclusion to my book and you can either take it to heart or ignore it, that's up to you, but this is my writing lesson for today. Conclusions. They are the stuff of your novel, because without a conclusion you have nothing. Or is that true? Can you finish off a book and not 'tie up all the loose ends'. I seldom try to tie up loose ends simply because that is not life. Stuff is messy in life, people don't always climax after sex, the bad guys are not always killed, or killed in a way that equals their badness, liars are not found out, cheaters are not caught, justice is not always swift, the only sure thing is from a quote from the bible, which I will paraphrase, “the victory does not always go to the swift, or the prize to the wise, because time and unforeseen occurrences befall them all.”

What am I trying to say is, it doesn't always work out in life, and some of the messiest things occur out of left field, good, bad or otherwise. So if you are coming to the conclusion of your novel, you don't always have to make sense. People will understand it because they've seen it before in their lives. The bad guy does not always have to get caught, the good guy the accolades, the woman the pregnancy that she wants, the child the spelling bee. You can mess things up and not tie up ends and who's to say that you are wrong? This is your story, end it how you like. Just don't wind up the book too tightly because it feels false if you do that. It's not life as we know it.

We are used to failure, to falling short of the mark, we are used to the wedding ring falling into the drain, or being caught by our wives or husbands when we have an indiscretion. The cops stop you for a blown tail light on the only night that you've been drinking in ten years, and you never win the lottery. Keep your stories real. You can just end them anywhere. Don't wander around looking for the 'appropriate' ending. Some writers do that, and find that they can't finish their work. That's probably because the work is already finished and needs the three letters FIN put at the end of it. But no, they roam and wander like men in the desert, looking for that miracle oasis of a finish that will wrap up their novel succinctly. This is a lark, a canard. There is nothing like this. Nothing in real life that is.

End it. Put it out of it's misery. The reader might want it to end too. Don't string them along, don't drag them behind the car just because you don't know the address of the end. Just stop and end it. I like to end my stories on harsh notes, on unfinished notes. It's just me. I don't try to imitate anyone. I'm writing because this is my journey.

Take your journey...remember to end it.


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