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My most recent first draft was completed about a month ago, I think, and so it’s been just about long enough to start looking at it with a critical eye (at least a little). And the ending sucks. Really. It’s bad, and this is why.

First, it’s abrupt. I think it technically covers all the different arcs I introduced in the book (or at least the ones I realized I was going to keep by the end of the book), but that’s about it. Most of them it barely touches on what happened, and it’s not long enough to be satisfying. There’s the climax, and then a tiny little denouement, and then the book ends. (Which can be explained by general writing fatigue at that point, but it doesn’t make the ending any easier to read.)

Second, it skips time and doesn’t deal with the immediate aftermath. Some books can pull this off. I don’t think this one can. There’s too much that happens in too short an amount of in-book time for it to feel satisfying if I then skip to the “happy calm time” well after the problem is solved.

Third, it explains everything. Rather than show what happens to the characters, I have them tell each other or “reflect” on what happened (which is fancy talk for saying they think about it so I can explain what happened to the reader). Boring!

And finally, it’s not finished yet. It’s a first draft, and as such there are threads to the story that aren’t properly wrapped up. It’s entirely possible that the whole thing will undergo a complete and total change, reflective of whatever alterations are made to characters and arcs and whatever else happens through the whole book.

Which is comforting, because no matter how crappy this ending might be, it just means that change will only improve it.