Posted by Lynne
There's an old song, It's not where you start it's where you finish. We've talked a lot about beginnings this week, beginnings of books, beginnings of chapters. I thought endings deserved their just due. Well-crafted chapter endings have the power to convince someone to read just one more page. Hooking the reader has as much to do with a good ending as a good beginning.
I'll borrow Hannah's technique to demonstrate.
1. There was my father with his head sewn up and my mother just having told me her life was a joke and I finally felt like things were a little bit normal.
The Patron Saint of Liars, Ann Patchett
2. Lester got in his Toyota and pulled into the fog of the coast highway, heading north for Point San Pedro and Corona. The fog was so thick his headlights were reflected off it and he had to drive slow, and careful.
The House of Sand and Fog, Andre Dubus III
3. People dealt with grief in different ways, but somehow he couldn't see himself lounging by a swimming pool just four days after his dead sister had been plucked from the ocean in a fisherman's net.
Amagansett, Mark Mills
4. I can't think of one way in which Alden resembles Harry, and yet, there I sat on the furniture of both marriages feeling as diminished in one man's company as I had in the other's.
Okay, that's from my novel. Do you think it works to keep you reading?
While the beginning of a book gets a great deal of a writer's attention, readers more often than not, say they're concerned about endings. I've heard from more readers than I can count, that a rough beginning is forgivable. A weak, or contrived, or disappointing ending is a sin. I admit my word of mouth recommendations have a great deal to do with endings, too.
Enter into a debate today over the importance of beginnings vs. endings. Which do you spend most of your energy on? Do you write like Tess Gerritsen? This week, she blogged about her first draft process of writing through. It's during her second draft process that she methodically chooses her chapter endings.
Beginnings draw the reader in, chapter endings keep us reading. Novel endings keep us talking about a book long after we've handed it off to a friend. Don't you dream of someone saying this about your novel? "You have to read this. It's amazing!"