I have been struggling for about a week on writing the chapters leading up to a book’s climax. I have re-written one section four different ways, and each time it just did NOT work. Each time it fails to ratchet up the suspense. I realize that the ending is vital, but as this blog’s title suggests, “saying good-bye is never easy”. How will I ever get this right? Well, I have decided on the following things to help:
1. Get in closer! When writing a book with many characters (as I am), I can get distracted by the minor characters. Especially the interesting ones. Yet, as I get closer to the ending, I need to hone in on the main characters, especially THE main character.
2. Create more problems! This is the end, so I must pull out all the stops and let the problems pile onto the main characters. Any kid will tell you that the fun is in making a big mess.
3. Speed up the pacing! This is not the place for deep thought or flashbacks. Action is everything in the last chapters. The paragraphs get shorter. The sentences get tighter. Make it like a runaway car speeding towards a great crash.
4. Add pressing time limits! Make your main character sweat as time runs out. In minutes a bomb will explode, a hostage will die, a battle will be lost, etc.
OK, it is time to tackle those last chapters again. Saying good-bye is never easy, but I want this book to have a memorable end, so the work is worth it. I want you to be thinking about this ending for weeks after you set the book down.