I had a close friend of mine ask me that question recently, apparently the email the question was encoded in became buried under two or three months of Facebook notifications – Facebook is going to be the end of us all I’m sure – at that time my friend was listening to the Lord of the Rings with his school age son. Listening to??? I had thoroughly parsed the Silmarillion in print by age 12, mom’s Book of the Month Club selection for September 1977 – mine!
I suppose that was why my friend asked me the question, because he thought I probably knew the answer. So, in case you haven’t managed to find the unabridged and authoritative answer to the question yourself – here it is.
The other day a randomized, automatically generated WordPress script reminded me that Joseph Heller once said, “Every writer I know has trouble writing,” – how reassuring – and of course, ‘and have more trouble with endings than with any other part of writing,’ is how Joe should have completed the sentence. Is this just another manifestation of the old saw, “Begin with the ending in mind” – that’s what? Habit No. 2 of Highly Effective People? Or, is it really something else?
For writers it seems being highly effective comes particularly hard. This seems to be a common condition among writers, searching for [and rarely finding] the right ending for the story. Never eventually finding the right ending is the death of many – stories and writers. Myself, I’ve been having that particular problem with this one story for the last eight years. It seems I am not alone.