Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Two Hardest Words

By Michelle Griep
Contrary to popular belief, they’re not, “I’m sorry.” Or, “You’re right.” Or even, “Colonoscopy, please.” Sometimes the hardest two words for a writer to pen are:

The End

No, I’m not kidding, and yes, I hear you. "What the flippity-doo-dah is scary about that? Centipedes, I might understand. A herd of rampaging gorillas is a valid fear, especially if they’re toting AK-47s. But this . . . sheesh . . this is just plain stupid. Writing the grand finale is the fun part you big idiot!"

Yes, it is fun, but there's also a certain amount of trepidation involved. Were all the loose ends tied up? Is it satisfying enough? Is the ending too abrupt? Too drawn out? Why am I in this handbag and where am I going?

Some authors whiz through this stage of the game, but there are many who wrestle with these demons. You are not alone. And you, like me, have to deal with these burning questions because otherwise they'll hide in the corner and grow into spiders large enough to star in a cheesy horror flick.

What to do? There aren't any easy answers, but here's a plan. Grab a Sharpie and write the following three inspirations on sticky notes, then fix them to your screen.

This is only a rough draft.
Get words down on paper and then you can change it later.

Trust your critique partners.
If your ending is giving off an odor like the rotten potato I found in my kitchen drawer last night, trust that they'll point out the stinky parts.

Write for fun.
Sit down and write for enjoyment instead of for the purpose of writing The End. If you're tense, it'll show.

There will come a day when you type ‘The End.’ It will be magical and satisfying. Go ahead and celebrate the moment in sweet, ignorant oblivion.
Because there is something else barreling down the pike, aimed for your heart.

Michelle’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Her recent release is A HEART DECEIVED, a gothic regency put out by David C. Cook (June 2013). If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at or or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.