There are many variations. Some authors harken back to the Latin, which you’ve got to admit – if you’re looking for the most unnecessarily pretentious way to end a book you can’t do much better than the Latin, Finis. The Sumerian equivalent maybe, in cuneiform. That might be slightly more pretentious, but only slightly. I’m thinking most often you’ll see the traditional The End. There’s also the shorter variation, the simple End.

I have even, using a character in one of my books, argued against writing anything at all. He made the point that most readers are intelligent enough to figure out that if there are no more words in the book, they have reached the end without being told. It’s a pretty tough argument to refute. I don’t know too many people who read the last word of a book and say, “Whoa! What the hell just happened? The words broke!”

Whoa! What the hell just happened? The words broke!

No one upon reaching the end of a book. Ever.
Now this guy knows a little about going out on a limb.

But here’s the thing: I can’t speak for any writer other than myself, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there are other’s who feel the same. When I finish the first draft of any book I always tack on a “The End.” It might be gone in the final draft, but when I finish the first draft, it feels necessary. I am not positive why this is, but I have a theory.

I think it is like a road sign for myself. I could easily substitute “Stop Writing Now,” but “The End” is shorter, and remember, I just finished writing a book. You might forgive me for my sloth. Especially if he looks like this guy. So yes, I go with the traditional, old standby, if only to tell myself that this draft, this initial rambling attempt to craft a good story and to begin to get to know these characters, is complete.

Now, clearly, we’re talking about a first draft. That means there is easily as much work ahead as has already been accomplished. And that’s putting it nicely for the kids. In less filtered but far more picturesque terms, this is just a cliff on which to rest before starting the hard part of the climb.

And that’s fine. Anything that’s worthwhile is worthy of a little elbow grease. I don’t mind doing the work at all. But there needs to be a pause, a quick breather. A squat on the cliff.

That’s why I plunk a “Then End” onto the first draft, every time.

Just like I did today.

At least I stayed away from Finis.

OH! And I got a dance party on Discord! And let me tell you, if that was the only reward I received for writing books, it would be enough to keep me writing them.

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