Have you ever experienced a partygoer who refused to leave? You know, the Spongebob type--happy and clueless while you mop the floor around their feet. Or are you that person?
When writing our stories, how do we know when it's time to leave the party? Do we escape too early, with our main character begging us to stay? Or should we leave in the thick of it, when the party is jumping and that person is swinging from the chandelier?
There's a balance between rushing the ending and overstaying our welcome. We want the ending to tie up loose ends, and it can summarize a theme we've instilled throughout the book. We want our endings to resonate with the reader, like the final scene from the movie Casablanca. To accomplish this, we should take our time with the final pages, give it all we've got, then get the heck out.
We know when the story is finished. It's when our main character says, "Writer, thanks for your time and for the bloody fingerprints on the keyboard. You can go now, and please take your stretchy pants with you. Oh, and here's looking at you, kid."
Bottom line: we should exit with flourish, and long before we're kicked out by the gracious host.
What do you think? How do you know when you've reached the ending? And how fast do you leave the party?