Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Rewriting Dilemma (Among Other Things)

*yawn*  What?  What do you mean I'm tired?  It's not like I slept a couple hours last night.   No way I'm tired, right?

Yeah, who am I kidding.

Anyway, down to business!  My mind tends to wander when I'm tired.  Probably does it to you too, I warrant--it seems fairly widespread.  And keep in mind, if you can read this entire post without falling asleep yourself, you have a keen mind and a good night's sleep under your belt.  I'll get to the voting button in a moment.

Now, I have had a rewriting dilemma of late.  For a long time, I have been considering the ending of my novel.  Such posts as these have been marked with my concern for it: and the question, "How shall I end my novel?"  It's already finished, you might say--so why would I ask that question?  Well, the ending of the novel feels somewhat incomplete.  Unsatisfying, you might say.  And it ended with total despair--not really all that great for the ending of a novel.  Basically, the reader's worst fears came true: the end.

So the consideration in question is this: should I rewrite the end of my novel to a more satisfying end?  If so, how far should I go?

Let me explain a bit.  I have three options here.  Option One: I leave the ending as it is, and rewrite a bit of the 'despair' part out of it and still leave it on a despairing note.  Option Two:  I 'briefly' rewrite the ending and extend it for a couple more pages to get to a more satisfying end.  Option Three: I totally rewrite and add to the ending with several more chapters and an extension of the plot.

I'm leaning toward option two right now for several reasons.  One, it seems to be the best way to let up on the despairing and incomplete end.  And second, it doesn't let up on the tension of the last chapters (as I had several POVs and threads of stories woven into the last few chapters).

So what do you think?  What should I do?  Shoot me a comment or take a look at the poll on the right sidebar.  And if you have a totally different perspective, awesome!  I'd love to hear it.

4 comments:

Eldra said...

I want to vote for option two, but unfortunately I'd have to read your novel to know for certain if that's the right choice. If you're going for reader satisfaction, option two seems to be the best option.

Nolan said...

Like I said on that previous post, treat every single book as a fulfillment to the reader. Doom and gloom will probably keep them reading, but for the wrong reasons. They just want to know what happens, so they keep reading. But if you give them a little spark, a glimmer of something remotely hopeful, they'll be reading more for the right reasons.

A despairing ending doesn't really teach a reader much in the outcome—it is how that despair is handled by the characters that gives a reader something to hold on to for years afterwards, and will probably result in them buying your next book, and the one after that.

Gillian Adams said...

I would say, definitely don't leave it with a completely despairing-your-worst-dreams-come-true ending. It's not satisfying to a reader. Or at least, I don't feel satisfied when a book ends like that.

So, without having read your book, I would say continue it at least a little further to give your readers a moment to regroup after the "calamity" and to end on a somewhat more hopeful note...

Is the first book in a series? Or is it meant to stand alone?

I'm working on the end to my novel too right now... we'll see how it turns out!

Jake said...

@Eldra
Thanks for the opinion! :)

@Nolan
I keep having an urge to call you Beorn. O_o Anyway, I agree. :) The ending is not dark and despairing, as in, the characters have lost all hope. However, it is fairly dark, what with the whole end-of-the-world-thing. :) Or, at least, it seems like the end of the world.

@Gillian
All right, thanks! It's not entirely despairing, as I said, but it is dark and all of their worst nightmares DID come true. ;)

It's the first book in a series, aye. The series will be at least three books, but I'm not sure if that's the actual count just yet.

Good luck with the novel! End it with a flourish! :D