That elusive ending

I have spent a vast chunk of today staring at the computer screen, trying to come up with an appropriate and satisfying ending to this novel. I think I’ve written (by which I mean retained) exactly 200 words.

I began the day well — up pre-dawn for a walk along Brighton/Elwood beach with a friend to get the juices pumping. (Lovely crescent moon and Venus rising.) Around lunchtime, I resorted to sitting in the sun with a coffee . . . and in the middle of the afternoon I tried yoga and meditation. Alas, none of these ploys helped.

Most of the final chapter is written; it’s just the final 300-400 words that keep slipping through my fingers. The complicating factor, I suppose, is that the novel has a sequel, which means that I need to a) consider where the next one starts, and b) ensure the ending is intriguing enough for a reader to want to read on — without first (figuratively) hurling it across the room in frustration. (A cliffhanger is out. I will never ever forget the frustration of finishing Stephen Donaldson’s Mirror of her Dreams, the one where Geraden disappears into a mirror, and having to wait an entire year for the sequel to be published.)

Don’t worry, I’ll get there. It’s as much about what feels right as making sure the bows are all tied. But I want to make sure the bows are all perfect, and of the right colour, before allowing myself to type those two short words . . .

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