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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Go Ahead, Let Them Change Your Ending


Some years ago, I was asked by the San Francisco Book Review to write about an aspect of my experience with my first novel for their “Back Page” feature.

The article I wrote tackled a question newer writers often struggle with: “what do I do if my agent or publisher likes my work, but wants me to make changes. Or, more drastically, wants me to … change my ending?”

It’s not a simple answer, unless you have a good sense of your novel and your characters as well as a good agent and publisher who understands what you’re intent is.

In my case, my agent loved Tracks, but offered some advice. The advice to make some modifications to the ending didn’t just change the book—it improved it.

The dreaded editorial changes are easy to embrace if you can truthfully examine them and come to the conclusion that the changes being made remain true to your story and your characters.

As I say in the article, “When I cut old stories, wrote new ones, and came up with an entirely new conclusion to the book, I saw that my agent understood the truth of my book even better than I did.”

Besides which, your agent and publisher know the business. They’re trying to help, not create a conflict. As long as their suggestions don’t go against your core intention, let them help you cut your darlings.

Go ahead and let them change your ending.

Here’s what happened when I did.




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