The End

Many novelists I know have certain criteria for when they’re going to type “The End” at the bottom of a manuscript.  I usually wait until that moment when I have a fairly continuous draft and a closing line.  When I hit upon a potential last line for my Italian chase novel, I hesitated for a moment.  I knew that this draft had a lot more holes and patches than my usual final drafts, but there was a reason for that.   I just didn’t have time to sit around and figure out transitions from scene to scene if I was going to wrap up a draft of my novel in time for Christmas break for some of my busy beta readers.  So whenever I got stuck, I used Leslie Connor’s wise advice of inserting the following marker: BRILLIANT TRANSITION GOES HERE.  So then it’s not matter of admitting failure; instead, it’s more like making a promise.

I didn’t quite make my goal of finishing by Christmas despite foregoing certain aspects of holiday cheer and turning into a Writing Scrooge. (Happy New Year’s greetings will be heading out soon.) I did find an ending for my story a few days after Christmas, but I didn’t come up with a draft where I truly felt like I could write “The End” until January 10th. But I didn’t want my first round of beta readers to be left in a state of suspense about the eventual outcome. 

So what now?  Well, PORTRAIT is off to another group of readers.  I’m in that waiting-for-feedback stage as I wait to see whether the vision in my head made it successfully onto the page.  (Darcy Pattison shares a great discussion of this issue here.)

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