We are approaching the end of our writing journey. Our stories that were our new babies quickly turned into their terrible twos and began smashing everything in sight before we knew it. We kept on. The story settled down for a bit. We crossed hurdles. Your story kept adding pages, slowly but surely. And the character that has been behaving themselves suddenly turned into a rebellious teenager. “No, I don’t want to do that. I want to do this.”
Just when you felt like throttling said character, you found a solution that satisfied the both of you. And now, you are nearing the end of these character’s journeys. Some may die heroically. Some leave home happily, enjoying their new lives. Some may die of despair, letting the villain get away. Whatever your ending, it’s coming upon you. It is time for you as the writer to prepare for your characters to graduate from your story. To those that live, they will go on with their new lives, changed. Their new lives may be the subject of another book (that’s usually how mine turn out), but they will have a life beyond this one story.
Graduations are joyous occasions, but also a bit sad for the parent. One chapter in your child’s life is ending. They are moving on to things that do not involve you.
Obviously, these books are not your children. You still hear them arguing in the next room right now, assuring your that all is well in your corner of the world. But on the same token, you have breathed life into a story. And while these characters are fictional and only live in your head, they have been a part of your life for the past month. They have become your children to an extent. Sadly, it is time to set up when you will say goodbye.
Your entire story has been building to this moment. Make it appropriate and special. Prepare your characters for what will happen. Reveal that news you’ve been holding on to for three days. Set the scene. Record the last moment. Do it right, whatever your ending is. Keep on going until you know you’re done. You will know when it is time to leave your characters. Until you reach that moment, stay with them. Stop focusing on your word count. Focus on your story.
The ending is the most important part. Keep writing until you’re satisfied. When you are done, rejoice! Then check your word count. :)