Endings are hard. Really hard. Life doesn’t have them. Sure, there are mile markers along the way, things we can point to that delineate one part of our life from another, but for most of us, there’s only on actual ending.
I recently left the life I’d known for the past fourteen years when I moved from Wisconsin to North Carolina. It wasn’t my first move, it probably won’t be my last, but nothing marks a shift like a few hundred miles. In a lot of ways I’m starting over, which is scary, but also very exciting. The formlessness of the upcoming days is both uncomfortable and intriguing. There’s a new beginning here somewhere, but I’m still not sure when that will get here.
As a writer, I find it incredibly difficult to write the ending to my stories. I’m not talking about the climactic scene of the story, but rather wrapping it up after that. Maybe it’s the formlessness around the characters’ futures that gives me such pause. Or perhaps it’s not wanting to say goodbye. In any case, there has to be an ending of some kind. Things can’t just dribble on forever.
In October, the conclusion to my On Deception’s Edge series is finally coming out. The final chapter of Vortex of Crimson is probably the hardest thing I’ve had to write so far. It is very definitely an ending, and one unlike the final chapters of Depths of Blue and Heights of Green. Each of those books had more to come, so it wasn’t “goodbye” to the characters and the story, instead it was “see you soon.”
We’ll have to see if Vortex ends in goodbye, or see you later. One thing for sure is that it’s a goodbye to Torrin and Jak. I’ve loved working with the characters and seeing them each grow and change, but their story is over. However, I don’t feel like I’m ready to be done with the universe they inhabit. I’d really like to explore in greater depth some of the worlds I’ve introduced. Castor-III, with its industrial landscape is particularly exciting. There are also some peripheral characters I’d like to revisit and build out.
And this is why I’m so bad at ending things. There’s always more to learn, more to find out and experience. I re-wrote the final scene in Vortex at least three times, and it’s been tweaked many more times than that. The initial ending was much too reminiscent of Star Wars, and I hated it until I realized that’s what was going on. Once I knew why the ending was so odious, I was able to tear it down and start over again.
It’s funny, I spent all that time working toward the final moment and when I finally got there, I had no idea what to say. Two years before I started writing the first words for Depths of Blue, I knew how the series’ action would end, but not how the story would. The last thing I wanted to do was to screw it up. It needed to have closure, not only for the characters, but also for the readers who’d been good enough to stick around for three novels.
I think I did it justice. All that needs to happen now is see what the readers say. Only two more months to go…