When I’m not sure what to do with a certain section of my novel, I frequently reach for my copy of the Newbery honor book, The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope. I’ve done this with first chapters, last chapters, chapter openings, chapter endings and transitions in general. So when I was struggling with an ending for Calyn’s story, I checked out the last few pages of The Perilous Gard with its rhythms and interactions. Then I tinkered with what I had for a bit and decided that I was done.
But of course I wasn’t.
While I had addressed the personal issues for Calyn, I didn’t cover the effects that her actions had on the wider world. My writer friends held me accountable. They wanted to know what happened. After thinking things through, I belatedly realized that Elizabeth Marie Pope had covered the wider world issues at the beginning of the 28-page chapter. But the fun part is that I’ll get to go back and read the endings of some of my favorite books for a sampling of endings like Ella Enchanted, The Thief, The Hero and the Crown, Beauty, and The Blue Sword.