Aaron Rosenberg: Ending Without Closing

Endings are hard. We say that a lot, and hear it a lot, because it’s true. Most of us, when we write, choose a story to work on because we’ve had some brilliant vision of the lead character doing something, or have suddenly been overwhelmed by that character’s voice, or just have this great idea of “hey, what if . . . ?” But that initial impulse, that creative spark, doesn’t usually extend to how the story ends. We all know the famous story of J. Michael Straczynski with Babylon 5, right? He sat down with the producers to talk about the idea of doing that TV series and mentioned that he had already envisioned a five-year arc. One of the producers jokingly asked, “Okay, how does it end?” And JMS told them. Because he already had most of the major beats mapped out in his head, including the very […]

Continue reading Aaron Rosenberg: Ending Without Closing

Coming To The End

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about endings lately. Everything ends, and the best one can hope for is that the ending is painless and peaceful, or beautiful and grand. Endings can be sudden, and they can be well-planned. Sometimes the end is wracked with tears, and sometimes the end is filled with joy and laughter. Nothing lasts forever. It’s okay for things to come to a natural conclusion – it’s just the way of things. Friendships end, jobs end, and of course, stories end.

Last night I watched the midseason finale of Once Upon A Time. (I have to take a left turn here to marvel at the existence of the midseason finale. Why is this a thing? I can see skipping a week or two around the holidays to make room for the endless number of holiday extravaganzas featuring country music stars singing rewritten hymns while wearing […]

Continue reading Coming To The End

The Creeping Ending

I want to talk about endings. I just wrote a book. Most of it I wrote in six weeks. Then it took me just about a month to write the ending. Now I’ll admit, I had no idea what the ending was, and that time coincided with some time off I intended to take, and a family emergency I did not plan on. I finished the book two days ago. I was in the very last chapter and I finished that chapter, and then started the next very last chapter, and then I was within a paragraph or two of finished, then several pages later I was within a paragraph or two of finishing, and then a few pages later I was within a sentence or two of finishing, and then pages later . . . .

Well, you get the idea. I call this ending creep. It happens every […]

Continue reading The Creeping Ending


The ending of a story can sometimes be the most important part. In a fable, it’s where the lesson is communicated. In a romance, it’s where the happily-ever-after happens. We spend a lot of time polishing and refining the beginning, making sure the hook line is sharp and that the introduction of characters is compelling. The ending needs the same amount of care, so that when the reader finishes that last page, she closes the book with a satisfied sigh instead of a grumble. Some writers start their novels with only a vague idea of what the ending will look like. Others know exactly what the end will be, and find themselves trying to pull the story together in order to fit that clear ending. As we’ve said many times around here, there’s no one right way to write your novel, so whichever of these describes you is perfectly okay. […]

Continue reading Endings

On Writing: Endings

(Originally posted on Kalayna.com)

“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The king’s advice to the white rabbit in the above quote seems too easy, too self-explanatory to be of any use to a writer. And yet, how to begin or end a story is an issue I see discussed and bemoaned on craft loops on a regular basis. More emphasis seems to go into the beginning of a book, as that is what agents, editors, and eventually, readers will see first. But how you leave a reader is as important as hooking them in the beginning. I blogged on beginnings last week, so I thought I’d take a look a endings today.

“Go on till you come to the end. Then stop.” Seems easy enough, right? But I bet we’ve all read a […]

Continue reading On Writing: Endings

A Few Common Writing Problems

Tomorrow, I’ll be heading out to Calgary, Alberta, for ConVersion, a sf/fantasy convention. The organizers have been kind enough to make me their literary guest of honor, and so I’ll be giving talks, perhaps reading from some of my work, and sitting on various panels. (I’ll also get to meet several actors from the Star Trek universe, including Marina Sirtis, John de Lancie, Ethan Phillips, Chase Masterson, and Robert Picardo.) Before the conference begins, I’ll be leading a two-day writers’ workshop. I’ve spent the last week reading manuscripts for the workshop, and that’s what I want to post about today.

As I’ve read, I’ve noticed some recurring issues. I suppose they’re things that all of us struggle with, whether we’re still trying to publish that first piece or completing our ump-teenth novel. And so, here is a brief primer on a few of the more common problems that crop up […]

Continue reading A Few Common Writing Problems

The Final Words

Though I’m nearing the cusp of the climactic sequence in my current WIP, I’m thinking about the end, about what happens after the big battle. David already touched on endings in a recent “Writing Your Book” post. What I want to focus on today, is the last sentences — the actual, 100%, no denying it, there’s nothing left, end to your story.

In terms of getting the eye of an agent or editor, writers are often told that the first sentence is the most important. That agents and editors will give you a few pages beyond and if you haven’t grabbed hold of them, then they aren’t going to ask for more — after all, if you can’t interest them from the beginning, then they figure you can’t interest a larger audience either.

But the last sentences of your tale are vital as well. This is the final word you […]

Continue reading The Final Words