The Problem with Endings

You’re writing along. Things are good. You’ve got a sweet, but not perfect protagonist developing, the supporting cast is strong, and you’ve hit the funny bone in some of the right places. You’re happy, you’re feeling like…oh, yeah, I’m a writer! Basically, that first draft was a:

And then you get to the end. The wrap-up. And your brain turns from a bubbling cauldron of brilliance to this:

Pardon the 80s valley talk, but basically you’re like…Whoa! What?!

And you realize the following:

  • You don’t really have your MC being quite active enough through the story. Because if you did, you’d have a much better idea of what he was supposed to do now.
  • You haven’t settled on the true purpose/meaning/theme of this story yet. Because you can’t really tell if this conclusion ties in with whatever you thought that was, or if it’s totally random.
  • You look at that ****load of art notes and feel relatively certain it’s too big a ****load, and start asking yourself if 1) you’re not telling the story well enough with words and 2) is there an illustrator on the planet that wouldn’t hate you if they saw this manuscript.
  • The word “goal” starts bouncing around in your head, at the end of questions like: “What is the protagonist’s…?” and “Do you even have a clue about the darned…?”
  • You wonder if the blueberry muffins are really enough.

So what do you do when you get to this stage? Well, if you’re me, you shout, “First Draft!” and drop-kick that evil editor out of the picture, at least for now.

You spellcheck, do a word count, and you pop that puppy into an attachment and email it off to your critique group. Who love you no matter what.

And then you start looking for the next picture-book idea to brainstorm.


  1. Another one for the class wiki.


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