Friday, November 19, 2010

Know When to End

At the Ink Slingers this week we are talking about the best advice we ever received pertaining to writing. Go here to check it out or read it below :)

The best advice I've ever recieved is from an unknown author. I don't remember the exact quotation but it went something like this:
"Know when to end"

I like it.
It's simple.
It's straight forward.
It's all a writer needs to know.

No, I'm not joking.

Think about it. We all, I'm sure, have read books that seem to drone on. Is the end of this chapter ever going to happen? Heck, is the end of this BOOK ever going to happen?
Here's the thing. There may have been other reasons for why we asked ourselves those questions when we read those books, but really, it all comes down to one thing. The author didn't know when to end...
...with discription
...with gore
...with the book
...with the series
...with a character (kill him already!)
The list could go one forever. The thing is, as writers we're are creating our own world and sometimes we get lost in it. We see all the details sometimes and get lost in them when we should be thinking about the "real" story. The real story isn't in the flower you just wrote four paragraphs of description on (most likely) it's with your characters and the plot.

Sometimes I can be a little long-winded, you're shocked I can tell. Every time I consider adding just a bit more, know when to end comes to mind. Do I really need that? Is it going to add to the story? Can they get the idea without it? It reminds me that sometimes less is more, regardless of what my word count and the rest of the world says. In the end, it's a story and it ends where it ends. Figuring that part out can be a bit of a challenge, but we're writers right? No one said it would be easy. 

So do you know when to end


Meredith said...

Definitely something I need to work on! I'm almost done with the first draft of my WiP, and it just seems to be dragging a bit toward the end. Thanks for the advice!

Carolyn V. said...

My crit buddies warn me when I've overdone it. =) Although I've seen movies where I thought it was ending and it just kept going and going. =)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Great post, Bethany! I have more of a tendency to rush my ending. He he. :-)

JMS said...

I definitely find I have a problem with ending. It's great that I saw this quote so I could keep it in mind. Thanks for the advice!


Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Great point, Bethany! I know I've read books that I've thought please stop describing the scene and get on with the action!!!!! (Or I'm going to put this book down.) You've got to know when enough is enough.