I finished a story this week. A fan fic, at that. What started out in 2010 as probably just a few chapters of Labyrinth fluff turned into a 91,000 words romance novel with a dark subplot about narcissism and abuse. And I just finished it. I let my characters go on without me.
During my life I have started more stories than I can count. Most have died one or two chapters in when I’ve realized that while this sounded good in my head, there was in fact no real story in it. Some of them died slow, agonizing deaths because I found myself unable to bring them to an end.
It’s harder than it sounds like. You need to wrap up all the loose ends. Catch all the plot bunnies and put them back in their cages. Read and re-read to make sure you did not forget some important clue that you gave in chapter 23.
But the hardest part, I am finding, is accepting that the story has come to an end. That there is nothing more to say. Oh, sure, I could drag the culmination out for a chapter or two more, and perhaps I could write an epilogue, and you know, maybe there should be a sequel…
It’s time to let go. My characters are big people. They can face the world without me. What’s an ending to me is a beginning to them, and maybe, maybe some day, I’ll go visit them again. But for now, it’s time to part ways.
If you’re a Labyrinth fan, here’s the link.