Endings & Epilogues

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I can’t believe I’m already nearing the end of my revisions. Five weeks and I’m dealing with the last two chapters of my book. I’ve gone back and edited all the other chapters to the best of my capabilities and the suggestions of the web-editor I use. I admit by the end I’m not as happy with the revisions the web-editor is giving me. Still, the end is in sight and with that end comes a new challenge.

It’s one problem to start a book, creating that engaging first chapter – or five – but now I need to figure out how to end the book with just as much punch while wrapping everything up. It doesn’t help that this book is the first in a series I planed back when I first conceived of it’s idea. How can I have a group of Paranormal Investigators and only one book? There’s way too many settings they could investigate, too many characters to have all their stories wrapped up in one book. Another problem I have is that I feel no story is ‘done’, life continues on and so do my characters in my head. They grow, they change, they tackle a new challenge, part of me wants to follow them up all the way until they die!

Of course, I can’t keep writing the book forever, sometime I have to end it. I’ve heard a lot of talks about endings, about how you need to wrap up all the questions you asked at the beginning, well most of them. I have heard them say not to include any new characters at the end – which I did with a past nano novel – and to mirror the starting. I began the last three chapters that way. In the beginning I started with my main heroine, and moved into her connections with ghosts and her friendships/lack of social encounters. By the third chapter I introduced my second main character.

Now that I’m working on the end, I wrapped up the second character’s story first, most of it. A skeptic but leader of the paranormal group, by the end he is faced with seeing a spirit in a flesh body, watching magic and holy water work against it, and see how much the main character’s dreams do come true. His belief system is shaken and is forced to concede that spirits – or some of them – do exist. As much as he’s rocked by this experienced, I had him step back and still take that logical angle of explanation – even though he can’t. I don’t want to lose him as the only ‘skeptic’ on the team, but I want to make sure he learns not to doubt his team members when they do come up with evidence to prove the contrary. If anything by the end of the first book he’s not a true skeptic but someone on the fence. I don’t want him to change from that stance though because he is the rock of their group. If he starts flying off the handle at every small dust or blurb on an audible recorder, the group could really be in trouble.

So I did finish and wrap up his own little plot line, but also put in hints to a future one. I’m not sure if it was the right choice, but I wanted to make sure I put in some snippets that will be revealed or discuss about more in future books.

Now I’m on the last two chapters, all dealing with the main character and her relationship and social encounters and the first ghost she talked to at the beginning. It took my a little while to wrap my head around how to wrap up everything with her. I’m not using my original ending that I’ve done but once again re-writing it. I decide the second last chapter should deal with her roommate and romantic interests. Spoilers – the romantic interest does not work out. I want to leave the audience with that reality and that pain that despite best efforts, our main character lost her chance (or so we think!). But there’s also the roommate, and I wanted to push my main character out of her comfort zone, telling her roommate the truth about everything and having the roommate accept her and even being genuinely curious and concerned for her. My main character started out as a loner, but I wanted to make sure by the end of the book she has friends and a support group to go to when ghosts appear to her. This roommate who she once pushed away I want to become good friends with her, and someone else for my main character to bounce ideas off of in future books.

That leaves the ghost in the library. I don’t intend to do a lot with this, but once more I want to show the change in my character by her tacking the ghost down to talk to it, thank it even for helping her get over her worse fear. But like did with the second character I wanted the ghost to give a warning, a prophecy that spirits will hear about what happened and seek them out, her out in particular. Nothing too ominous but enough to give our main character something to ponder and worry about.

Then there is the last chapter. In all honesty as I type this out the above warning from the ghost could be a perfect end right there. But I have the problem of shutting up when I reach the end. I just can’t stop writing.

That’s when I question Epilogues. Do I put one in, or just leave it as the last chapter instead?

Right now, my last chapter puts my main and second character together, discussion her position as part of the paranormal team. I want the leader to tell the main character what she’s expected, how she’s to research any information a ghost gives her and not take it on fact alone. I want there to be an attempt from the paranormal group to be legit, to research and make sure their medium is getting truth or spouting fiction. The one purpose behind this ending is to have someone come in with a new case. That whole life continues and moves on and they ghost hunters are back out on another investigation.

The more I think about it, there more I question if I really need to include it. Oh how I love spouting random things out and find my the answer in my own words. Seriously, writing out my concerns can really help me find an answer. Lol.

I’ll keep debating the question and write-up both chapters to see how they turn out. I might surprise myself. But either way, my third draft is near completion. Once that complete I’ll be searching for beta readers and possibly tracking down an editor to help me find all the spots I’ve missed through revisions and the editing process.

It’s been a long month.

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