How to End the Thing …

It’s a difficult time. We (two teams of two writer-peeps) are finalising stories, but one of them is being difficult – we don’t know how to give the final picture.

One option is to have the main character (MC) drive past the same place she drove into town, see the gate that closes the place off now, and a sign that says (among other things): Danger: Toxic Seep – Do Not Enter!

But it’s the arid zone. There are no places in the story where there are sludges and seeps, there are no bits where stuff oozes from the ground!

It’s a no go. But we can’t find a way to end it if we don’t do something like that.

Let me give you some background (not the whole story!).

MC has run away from her fate and her last remaining family (Grandmother). She’s bought a house, sight unseen, in a remote country town. This might be a chance for peace, but no – it’s where she meets the mortal enemy. Again.

You see, you can’t outrun yourself; fate always finds you because it’s in you. After much suffering and learning and fighting back, MC shows how she’s learned her lessons well enough to be able to take on the nemesis – but it might just cost her own life. Well, that’s just the way it goes when you have a story like this (the genre would probably be classified as urban fantasy, but if you consider it’s really rural or outback, maybe I should call it ‘outback fantasy’) – in the end is the choice to ‘do or die’.

And, of course, I can’t tell you the actual ending, but the denouement, the final wrapping up moment – what can we do with that?

I want to have the sign, but with different connotations; just something that says ‘Don’t Go There’. My colleague wants more, bigger, mucho impact.

The question for both of us is this: What is Best for the Story?

How will the denouement affect the reader? Which take on the final drive-by will leave the most lingering impression? What will the emotional impact be? Is that what we want the reader to experience?

The questions are simple, really, but the answers are being difficult.

What do we do?

Well, I suggested we do an interview of the characters to see how they would like to ‘see’ the end of their story.

My counterpart said we should do two endings, and get some beta readers to give us their take on what it meant to them at that point.

The problem is we can’t agree on which two endings, because now that we have those two, there are several more that just might be better than those two, and if we give only two choices to the beta readers, shouldn’t they be the best two choices?

The discussion rages on …


the house

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