Having read “The Small BIG: Small Changes that Spark Big Influence” by Steve Martin, Noah Goldstein and Robert Cialdini I've been thinking about some of the ideas and studies they covered, particularly the idea that our novel reading has two peak experiences that we take away with us. The one in the middle -- the climax, the happiness just before the crisis, whatever that moment proves to be for us as readers -- and the very last bit. The ending.
After years and years of writing, someone finally got through to me that having the characters ride off into the sunset -- fade to gold -- isn't enough. Those last few paragraphs will define a reader's peak experience take away from the book.
Do you think it's true? Do you think endings define your overall memory of a book?
I never thought they did, for me. And yet ... when I smile as I close the last page, that is when I think it was a fantastic book.
So endings really do have to deliver an emotional peak experience.
No pressure, then.
As you probably didn't want to know -- I sure didn't! *wry grin* -- I've thrown out my third attempt at "Chasing Xanadu" and am plotting a completely different take on the idea (yes, again). This time I'm keeping the power of the ending in mind, as well as a ton of other things (that didn't work in the previous attempts) and I will nail this book. The problem (I suspect) is that my reader soul knows this idea can be brilliant, and my author soul is daunted by the pressure -- that and real life has been insanely busy. So "Chasing Xanadu" an adventure in Australia's last great wilderness (the Kimberley), is now at Take 4!
Sometimes being a writer is just about not giving up.
PS Today, October 2, is my steampunk novella, Curses and Confetti's, last FREE day on Amazon. It's also at #2 for free steampunk books, so if you pick it up and nudge it to #1 on that list, I'll scream with excitement :)
PPS My new contemporary romance, Kiss It Better, is out October 8, but if you pick it up before then, it's a pre-order steal for under a dollar (currency exchange rates mean the exact figure varies)