1. Ruth Jacobs
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    Ruth Jacobs Member

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    When and how to end my first novel

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ruth Jacobs, Oct 16, 2010.

    I am writing my first novel and have nearly finished the final battle where the antagonist is killed by the protagonist, but I am split by what to do next. I have drawn out the final battle in real-time, covering 25 hours in approximately 20 scenes, with various surprises and twists and it goes on - possibly too long in this first draft at 13K words until the shooting (novel total should be approx 70-75K when complete).

    Should I draw out the tension longer and carry on in real-time where they carry the body out the house, drive to where they are disposing it and dump it? Or should I cut from the scene where he is shot, to one day or one week later when the protagonist is back in her normal life?

    I also don't know how many scenes (or word count) I should allow for the denouement. There are a few loose ends to tie up with the protagonist and the secondary characters, which I could give separate scenes using 8-10K words in total covering the week following the murder, or I could tie them up in two or three scenes about 2-3K a week after the murder.

    Perhaps I should mention that although she has killed someone the novel is focussed on her mental state and relationships with family and friends. This makes me feel that I should give these areas the time (and word count) they deserve after the murder, as I have done the rest of the novel. But if I do this, is my ending way too long?

    I'd be grateful to hear comments - thank you
     
  2. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You should go through the books and whats sort of dramatic promises and issues you haven't yet answered and answer them, or most of them in some way.

    I can be everything to a very wide theme "Have the theme about finding your own identity reached a conclusion or some sort of satisfying end?" to interpersonal "Have the main characters fight with his brother halfway through the book been reached a consequence or conclusion?" to the very specific "I have mentioned the characters dear pocket watch many timed throughout the book, can I somehow use it so manage the end to feel complete?"

    Building a satisfying ending is not a matter of a certain number of scenes after the climac but connecting all the important threads in the tapestry and tying them together to neat ends.
     
  3. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    It ends when you need it to end... If there's a lot more to say, then say it. like you say, there seems to be more internal conflict for her afterwards, so it's not like the story will run totally flat 'cause the baddie is dead. Keep writing until you've said all you feel you need to say, then edit later.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Its your first draft put it all in you can always take it out.

    My final edit of my first novel ends with a scene I took from the middle of the first draft
     
  5. Egil1Eye
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    Egil1Eye Member

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    Don't it short if you feel that it isn't rounding out the way you feel it should, and has been stated you can always still change it to your tastes once you have a first draft finish.

    You could also leave something out that may have considerable importance, this may lead you into a sequal, in this way not only do you have the opportunity to have the original storyline branch off in a new direction, but also to wrap up what may be loose ends from the first book.

    Just a simple idea, hope it helps in some small way.
     
  6. Naiyn
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    Naiyn Contributing Member

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    Don't worry too much about number of scenes or word count-- at least not in a first draft. If it comes to you, and it makes sense for the story at the time to put it in, then put it in. After it's all said and done and you have something you can call a completed draft, you can go back to edit and hack and rearrange etc...

    Often times, your characters will tell you when the story is over.
     
  7. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    I'd say touch up on all of these, but summarize for the most part.

    And I think covering a battle hour-by-hour is a little much, ESPECIALLY if this battle lasts 25 hours.
     
  8. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not having read your MS I fail to see how anyone can answer your question.
    However you do seem to be putting far too much emphasis on word count.
    I would forget about how many words you are using and just concentrate on writing the story. If you are unsure how to end your story and you do seem to have a couple of possible endings, then I would write both and then decide which one works best.

    I agree with Billy here.
     
  9. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Also, your novel isn't exactly going to be too long with the wordcount you're aiming for.
     
  10. Ruth Jacobs
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    Ruth Jacobs Member

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    Thank you very much for all the advice. I will write out the full ending and then see how it reads on editing.
     

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