Archive for storytelling

Home Stretch: Birth of a New Ending

Posted in Creativity and Chaos, Working magic with tags , , on April 7, 2023 by coyotescribe

Poised at the keyboard after writing for years, I was buried under an avalanche hill. It toppled from some great height of which I had quite underestimated. Out of the fray—a few days later—a new character showed up and saved the day: a U.S. postal carrier. On his way to his last stop—a curbside collection box—he pulled up beside my hill in a DJ-5 mail jeep and loaned me a shovel. With it, I wrote a rip-roaring two pages to begin my novel’s epilogue. And then?—I was really in trouble.

How do you decorate the armature of a story? That is the question. And how intently do you listen for where it wants to go?

An immeasurable amount of time back, before I wrote the last three ‘numbered’ chapters, a revelation flooded my brain. It was a new ending that wasn’t there before. Not in my outline. Not even close to my outline. You know, like, a bridge too far?  The idea took me through an agonizing week and a half before my resolute rejection of it. Still, something was right about how it stirred the fiery cauldron. I needed to seriously consider it, as a way to break free from my matter-of course.

I was nudged into a monolithic overreach that I call my Sixth Sense moment. Had I incorporated the physical actuality of it, I would’ve blown up the whole story. However, it was surprisingly helpful as it knocked me forty-five degrees off course—into the black hole of my imagination.

Throughout the labyrinthine detours, over-embellishments, about-faces, pot holes, and cracked fillings, I discovered something more than just the ending. I can’t really explain it—don’t even think it could ever happen again. I climbed the mountain and reached the momentous afterglow of completing my last chapter—sixty-three. And then?—that avalanche I mentioned earlier: the epilogue. It started with my erroneous assumptions about what would fill the early pages. I gave it a shot, and realized I was—once again—trying to control the narrative.

It is impossible to control the narrative! No part of this story has ever reacted favorably to my pigeon-holing—especially for convenience’s sake. Thus, why my research is extensive, and why I wrote my previous blog post on finding The Final Last Word.

In June of 2022, I scribbled this on an envelope:

Questions loom. Will I be able to pay off the debt I racked up in fifty-nine chapters totaling 540 pages? Am I up to the task?

Well, it took four more chapters and eight more months before I’d even reach the epilogue. And now—well—here I am, ten pages in—at 604.

Based on my track record for blog frequency, this will surely be my last blog post before finishing the novel, the last chronicling of my progress in real time, and a get-well card to my future readers who were willing to track a 600-page novel.

There’ll be no more trudging back to reconstitute soaring revelations or frequent dives for cover. This is it. No rectifying, no making up for all the ghost posts that never reached quintessential windups. It is what it is. I deleted 2200 words of blogwash and gave myself a break. THE END—in real time.