As I was wrapping up my current WIP I was thinking about how I find myself dragging my feet towards the end of every book. An email from Deans on this topic, 10 years ago this month:
Getting to an ending is a hard thing for me. When I write something it is like driving around a complicated suburban subdivision in the dark knowing I have to get to one of the houses but only having very dim lights. Then sometimes as I go along the lights get brighter but sometimes they don’t. And sometimes I pull into the wrong driveway. Actually a lot I do that. But the good thing is that endings are hardly ever anyone’s favorite parts, and the best thing you can do is do the best by your characters, right?
10 years ago I was struggling to wrap up work on my first novel. I’ve written 4 or 5 more in the years since. I’d like to think I’ve learned a lot throughout the process, but I’m open to the idea that I have learned absolutely nothing. Or that maybe each book teaches its own lessons, and they never have anything to do outside the world of that book.
Endings are hardly ever my favorite part anyway, I hum to myself as I slowly drive around, looking in the neighbor’s windows. In this case I actually do know which house I need to get to, it’s more this desire, turning into the driveway, to stomp down on the gas and crash straight through the garage and on to whatever’s on the other side.
Not to be melodramatic! Just: as you move towards an ending your choices narrow, and it’s difficult to figure out when to let the trip end and appreciate it for whatever it was, and when, actually, you still have somewhere interesting to go, if you don’t mind driving a lot a lot farther.
Or, but: sometimes the really good shit is arriving home and just sitting inside the car and not going inside the house. What about that. Does that count as finishing a book and do they teach that in MFA programs.
This blog post added 15 minutes to the time it took to finish my book.