One bullet is all it took to transform eighteen-year-old New Yorker Jordan Amador into the last hope for souls of the dead. However, it also transformed her into a cantankerous asocial waitress with a drinking problem.
Jordan accidentally shot and killed a Seer: a person who can communicate with ghosts, angels, and demons. Worse still, she did so on the eve of her own awakening, making her the last Seer on Earth with no one to guide her. As penance, God gives her two years to help one hundred souls with unfinished business cross over from Earth to the afterlife or she will go to Hell. Just as she approaches the deadline, Jordan finds her hundredth soul: a smart-mouthed poltergeist named Michael whose ability to physically touch things makes him distinct from her usual encounters with the dead. However, the deeper she delves solving his sudden death, the more she realizes something sinister is on the horizon.
With time running short, Jordan stumbles across a plot that may unravel the fragile balance among Heaven, Hell, and Earth. Her life is plunged into chaos as she is hunted by demons that want to use her valuable Seer blood to bring about the end of the world and discovers that these creatures have a frightening connection to her family bloodline. Plus, the budding romance between Jordan and Michael makes it harder for them to let go of each other so he can become part of the eternal black parade.
Finding the perfect ending
Finding the perfect ending, to me, is sort of like dumpster diving. That sounds horrible, but allow me to elaborate. Whether you’re writing the ending to a short story, a novella, a novel, or a series of novels, there is always a huge pile of different endings to choose from. You can go in a billion different directions, and sometimes that can be too intimidating for words. It’s like sifting through a landfill—endless amounts of things, some garbage, some precious objects, some a little of both. You could spend an eternity going around dusting things off and sticking them in your pocket. But, unfortunately, as an author, you’re not allowed to do that. You have to determine what fits the story.
So far, my endings have always come to me at the inception of the novel. I don’t always know every fine detail, but I usually have a general gist of whether the ending will be happy, bittersweet, or a bit of a downer. I also usually have an idea of where the characters should be by the conclusion of their journeys. When I come up against a fork in the road, though, I lean towards some advice I heard a while back that said, “Write the story you’d want to read.” I dig deep and think about all the things I love about fiction and all the things that make me want to punch a book out of sheer rage. I consider the ramifications of making certain decisions with characters. I weigh the overall effect of the ending against the rest of the story and see how much ties together. Not everything has to be neat and pretty, but there is nothing worse than an ending that is a jumbled mass of threads where nothing is resolved or answered. I consider that to only be appropriate for a long running television series or a long novel series, but nothing that is a novel trilogy or shorter. After all of this thought, I pick whatever feels right for the characters and what would feel most satisfactory if I were reading the story instead of writing it.
I don’t think there is a “perfect” ending, though. Writing is and always has been subjective. Some people will hate the way The Black Parade ends. Some will love it. Some will think it’s okay. All I know is what my gut tells me works for those fictional folks traipsing around in my head.
My advice to the writers out there is to let it come to you. Don’t force it. Your readers can always tell if you’re fishing for something or if your ending is inorganic. For instance, remember the ending to the 2007 version of I Am Legend? (Spoiler alert, by the way.) I remember loving that movie to pieces until I saw that rushed, unsatisfying ending where Neville sacrifices himself to save the girl and the little boy. Then after the movie came out on DVD, I found out that there was an alternate ending that the studio changed last minute because the test audience didn’t feel it was a “big enough” climax. I watched the original ending and it made so much more sense that I got a little angry at the writers for changing it. The reason the original ending, to me, was better is because it addressed seeds that were planted earlier in the film whereas the theatrical ending was nothing but a gut-wrenching cop out. It taught me not to worry about having an action-packed conclusion. The story needs balance more than to have a big finish. I think that’s how great endings are found.
About the author:
Kyoko M is an author, a fangirl, and an avid book reader.
Her debut novel, The Black Parade, made it through the first round of Amazon's 2013 Breakthrough Novel Contest. She participated and completed the 2011 National Novel Writing Month competition. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Lit degree from the University of Georgia, which gave her every valid excuse to devour book after book with a concentration in Greek mythology and Christian mythology.
When not working feverishly on a manuscript (or two), she can be found buried under her Dashboard on Tumblr, or chatting with fellow nerds on Twitter, or curled up with a good Harry Dresden novel on a warm central Florida night. Like any author, she wants nothing more than to contribute something great to the best profession in the world, no matter how small.
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