Friday, October 21, 2011

Ending a thriller

Well I’m coming to the ending of draft one. While that sounds like I’m almost done writing I’m not. Captive, and the sequel, are thrillers so my ending should follow a (very loose) formula. I need a big ending. At page 291 I’m just starting to wind it down (and will likely end up with 400 pages after edits are complete).

So I’m building the grand finale. Someone will die; a bomb may go off; there will be numerous unexpected twists and turns. Mostly at this point I’m following the traps I’ve laid for my characters to their inevitable ends.

I love writing this part of a book. The ending will ultimately take about 100 pages. Draft one will be a little lean…the chronology is more important that the details; or, what happens in the room is more important than what the room looks like. And that’s why the clean up is also fun: I get to clarify and embellish.

Fiction allows for creation, and I play around with my story lines, throwing away outline after outline. Believable, thrilling, compelling and original? Writing thrillers is getting harder and harder as the real world ups the ante on us writers (look at the news from Libya over the last month; or Syria: no one would have believed me had I written it last year!).

Or, as I’m writing about the protests in Egypt, I touched on global unrest not expecting that since the book will end in New York I’d have to add in the protests there!

How fun it all is. So now, inevitably, I’ll follow the story line I’ve sketched out only roughly. Earlier in the week I threw out my already written last chapter because I decided another outcome had more impact.

So truly, when writing fiction, no one really knows how it will end (including me!). Is that so different from the real world in which we live?

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