Say Goodnight, Say Goodbye
It's a great irony that for those of us involved in education, the end of the year comes right at a time when the natural world is waking up, coming alive, refreshed.
I've come to accept that odd feeling of disorientation, that I am out of sync with the natural order. And lately I've been taking time to mourn. A friendship. A project. And my novel.
Did I mention I'm down to rewriting the last seven chapters of my novel?
And I've been pondering how to go out with a bang, both literally and figuratively. Remembering how many of my favorite books end. And what makes the end of a novel sooooo satisfying that you can't put it down until you are totally finished, done, and know exactly what happened.
I've come up with a short list of must haves:
All the threads must be tied up. I don't wear pants that are unhemmed, and I don't like my stories to be trailing unfinished business/character arcs/plot details. It may sound old school, but that's ok, I'm over 35 now and can be honest about who I am.
As a married woman, I'm bored with stories that end right as relationships begin. I know the best is yet to come, and I want to peek into the journey two characters take together. Case in point, Eleanor & Park. I love that these two protagonists work through a complicated situation together, while they become physically involved. Show the nitty gritty of true relationship--it's riveting.
When possible, blow shit up. I mean this metaphorically. Don't leave any stone unturned. At the end of one of my favorite novels Animal Dreams, the main character finds out that her sister has died, and she has to decide whether to actually land in her hometown or not. During the last chapters, Codi, the main character, realizes so much truth about her childhood, family, and home that it's off the hook. The metaphor I'm looking for here is fireworks.
Whose heart doesn't light up with wonder at fireworks?
The best endings keep 'em guessing, people.
Coranna Adams is a writer, filmmaker, and educator from Asheville, North Carolina.