Tag: endings


Throwing the Book

  Michele:    Some books have such unexpected endings that the reader reacts physically. I have thrown books twice in my life when I felt duped by the writer. Anita Shreve invoked the wrath of many fans with The Last Time They Met. I know readers have reacted hysterically when a favorite character is killed, particularly if he or she is part of series. Ask Elizabeth George. I’ve heard authors discuss invoking terror and distress in the hearts of their readers just to shake things up a bit and to challenge themselves.    The question is what book(s) had an ending that inspired a dramatic reaction from you and why? What do you think about using this as a technique as a writer?   Paula:   There’s an old adage in publishing: The first page sells the book, the last page sellsthe next book. So writers should beware endings that infuriate or frustrate orperplex readers. For my part, I’m a typical reader: I don’t much like ambiguousendings, or endings in which the main action is not resolved, or endings whereeverybody dies. I remember the ending of My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoultwhich dismayed me. I saw it coming, and still it dismayed me. And I wasn’t alone.I […]

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How do you know when you're done?

This is a question I’m asked frequently by my students, and I wish I had a clear-cut answer. Having an agent is a huge help in this respect because I’m done when Paula says I’m done. But how do I know I’m done enough to send it to Paula?  I have two indicators: When I reach a point when I can read through the manuscript and have nothing else to add. When I begin daydreaming about a different story. That’s usually a sign that my mind has moved on. For further insights, I asked my fellow Miss Demeanors for their thoughts and this is how they replied: Tracee: I’m done when the deadline hits (well, really once the final round of edits are finished, but those have a deadline as well…. ). That’s when the manuscript gets pulled from my fingers. Of course that kind of deadline is for work that will be published – it’s due! I’ve written many full length manuscripts that I’ve never submitted for publication. Those were also ‘completed’ but it is trickier because you can keep on and on and on editing. I’ve always stopped when I felt it was good enough for a professional to view (although that would probably […]

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