Endings and the 66% Curse
Let me tell you a secret: I suck at endings.
Somehow, no matter what I do, I get two thirds of the way through a piece and I just start sucking hard. The prose becomes uninspired, I lose focus, I wander off. I start to question everything I know about writing: what is my real goal here? What is the focus of this piece? How can I deliver on the promises I made to the reader in the opening of the piece?
I muddle through, of course, but it’s frusturating. Sometimes it’s a sign I’ve been writing too long in one session, that I need to get up, stretch, have a snack, think about something else for a while. But mostly I think it’s fear. The piece is almost done; it’s almost the time when I’ll have to evaluate the work as a whole, to see how it turned out, if it was anything like I planned it in my head. It’s almost time for the first revision pass, almost time to decide if it’s worth cleaning up and putting out there or if I didn’t manage to do it justice this time through. In short, it’s almost done. And that’s a terrifying moment.
I’m not sure what the best way to handle this problem is. Personally, I’m handling it the same way I always handle fear: by tackling it head-first. I find that barrier where I am reluctant to continue, and I make myself continue. I write short pieces that I share with my patrons so that I have to write endings. Over and over, I write pieces that end, and nothing bad happens. The piece is done. I share it with my patrons, they generally approve. I get feedback from my alpha team. I learn a little about how to end things. I get just a little bit better.