I'm taking some time off this week to try to finish my book, A Tale of Two Kingdoms. I'm sitting at around 26,000 words as of yesterday. Contractually, they want it to come in between 30,000 - 35,000 which I think will be 150-200 pages. I have no fear of hitting the word count by January 30 (the deadline), but I am nervous about ending the story properly. As a writer, I've generally had a discovery philosophy where I much prefer to just write and see where I end up. This has it's benefits...and I'm sure it is rooted into my improvisational background, but it also has some drawbacks.
I can tend to meander and sometimes lose the throughline of the story I'm telling. I generally make up for this by constantly editing the entire story every so often to make sure I am on the right track. I have a loose outline for the last six chapters of the book that I'm writing now, but just having the outline for some reason creates some angst. Perhaps it is that, knowing this creation will be published, there is no turning back. This is the ultimate loss of creative control. I've been editing this story for nearly eleven years. Next month, others will start editing it with me...and then it will be cast in stone (or hardback) in the Library of Congress. It will be done forever. Only George Lucas can go back and have Greedo shoot first. The rest of do not have that luxury.
The big decision now really hinges on how to end this tale. The publisher and myself would love to see it become the first in a series, but that will depend on how it is received in the broader market. (I don't think they create an extended series based on an author's parents and 100 closest friends buying a book.) So, I'm trying to end it with both hope and some measure of uncertainty. If I knew for sure that there would be a second, the ending would be a bit more menacing. If I knew it was the only one, it would likely end with all the loose ends tied.
I know that I want the final chapters to have a strong eschatological emphasis. To help me prepare, I'm currently reading N.T. Wright's Surprised by Hope. I just started it, but I can tell it is going to be good - possibly mind blowing. Feel free to join me.