Have you read things that leave you feeling unsatisfied? They started out well – interesting, useful – and you’re anticipating answers to a problem you know could really use them
Maybe there’s a story about how someone is personally affected or research showing it’s a big issue. And you’re eager to learn what can be done.
But you never find out because the writer has ended before the ending.
Ending before the ending is so frustrating. We never get to find out what can be done or what we can do. Sometimes a solution is flagged right at the end but then it’s glossed over and you get the feeling the writer just wanted to wrap the whole thing up.
Ending before the ending happens a lot.
Why? It’s usually an issue of clarity or pressure.
- Point-less.The writer didn’t know the objective for their writing, so they got lost and so did we. They needed to decide what they wanted us to know, do or feel (maybe all three) and work towards that.
- Complicated. They tried to cover too much so we were swamped in a sea of information.
- Rushed. They rushed to publish without letting their work sit long enough for them to get some emotional distance from it. The passage of time, even a short period, brings clarity about what needs to be improved.
I’ll admit, I’ve been guilty of ending before the ending (and I’ll probably do it again). But I work hard to guard against it because not only is it unfair to leave your audience unsatisfied, it’s also bad for your reputation if you do it regularly.
I try to make sure I know the point I’m trying to make (even if it changes through the writing or editing process, which it sometimes does).
I try to keep things simple by sticking to my point and weeding out anything that doesn’t really support it.
And I try really hard to put a pause on publishing so I can see it from my reader’s eyes instead of my own.
Write with love for your audience, the kind of love that asks, what would they need? That love can be the lamp that lights the way to getting it right for them and for us.