Recently as I’ve been writing on my novel, I’ve begun to ponder what I have planned for the ending and it started me wondering if I’m heading, one key depression at a time, toward a big mistake.
My ending isn’t a particularly happy one and, if I write it correctly, could be quite unexpected. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be all artsy or clever in what I’m doing, it’s just the way the story has evolved. Without giving out too much detail, the story leads up to a point where the protagonist doesn’t save the day, but actually makes it worse.
I’m struggling with the fact that I, as a writer, have to give out some promises to the reader. A post on diymfa suggests that there are five promises that a writer makes to a reader;
- You promise a character (CHECK)
- You promise the voice (CHECK)
- You promise the world (CHECK)
- You promise a problem (CHECK)
- You promise an event (??)
I can cover at least four of those, so I guess I’m a fairly trustworthy writer (although I’m not available to look after your dog whilst you’re on holiday!) I can also promise an event, but I’m not sure if it will be an event that ends how the reader is expecting (or wanting).
Ben Bova talks about a chain of promises on his website, but he includes a chilling statement; At the climax of the story all the problems must be resolved. All the major problems, that is.
And this is where my true problem lies – my ending doesn’t resolve the overall problem – it merely moves it on slightly, which becomes the starting point for the beginning of the second novel in the trilogy.
In fairness, although the novel is considered a trilogy and it was planned as such, the more I think of it, the more I’m concerned that my story is just a single, epic story rather than a trilogy and the ending that I’m struggling with is merely the end of Act 1.