Monday, 6 June 2011

I suck at Endings

Twists in the tale, sudden reveals, epiphanies – it doesn’t matter what, I suck at endings.  My stories start with such promise and then...I run out of steam.  It isn’t like I don’t read the endings of other stories, and I almost always finish novels unless they’re really bad (FYI this list includes Barchester Towers by A Trollope, Little Women by L May Alcott, Kim by R Kipling and Crash by JG Ballard).  So why don’t I get the hang of it?  Maybe my writing reflects my life (quite interesting and satisfying but ultimately going nowhere?) I don’t know.

Openings I do fine with, and I come up with some really great lines, descriptions and characters, especially characters – or so I think so.  I also reckon I write women better than men, whilst five out of eleven of my main characters in my novels are men, and six women (that doesn’t mean I’ve finished eleven novels, two or three are equally split between male and female protagonists) and around 50% of my short stories are told with women’s voices – those seeming to be the best ones.  But endings, I just don’t know.

I guess I kind of see a novel as a journey spent in a train carriage with some interesting characters, it doesn’t really matter where you’re going, if the people are new and exciting enough you’ll enjoy the ride.  The journey is what matters – like when you’ve done a big exam, or important interview and you feel relief, and a little boredom afterwards – that’s how I feel about writing.  It’s the anticipation and excitement, and the anxiety of the build up, whether they end up together or whether they survive the battle etc.  Doesn’t matter as much because a novel can’t be a whole life, it can only be a snippet, the best bit.  Are the endings the best bit?  How much does your enjoyment of a novel depend on a satisfying ending and not on the bulk of the story or the quality of the prose, I wonder.

These pictures are from Leigh in Greater Manchester, I spent the weekend house sitting there for my brother, and having a dreadful time regards inspiration!  They are processed with HDR software Oloneo.  Ah well, new month, summer holidays and lots of projects!

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