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  • Writer's pictureBridget Walsh

Novel endings and influences #amwriting #irishhistoricalnovels

Updated: Jul 6, 2022

Revising the end of my novel, I felt the ending was a bit too drawn out, not just for me and the characters, but for the reader. I deleted a chapter and combined some of the text into another chapter. It started to look better, as I could now see the end. More importantly so would my reader!

I'm very conscious that the ending has to resolve many things for the protagonist.

My favourite ending.

The brilliant ending that I admire most is the wonderful finale to "The Dead" in James Joyce's "Dubliners." This image shows my battered copy of the classic work.

How is it brilliant?

In the final paragraph, Joyce's protagonist, Gabriel, begins by thinking about the weather forecast. Something quite banal. "Yes, the newspapers were right. Snow was general all over Ireland." (p160.)

From there, in his final four sentences, Joyce moves from the general to the particular, "falling softly on the Bog of Allen," then to the specific, "the lonely churchyard on the hill, where Michael Furey lay buried."

Then Joyce provides even more, tiny, visual details. "It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns."

Then moves to the protagonist's epiphany.

In the last sentence, Joyce shows Gabriel's epiphany.

"His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."

It's such an amazing and poetic piece of writing. Dense sensory descriptions drag the reader into the snowy air to experience the universal advent of death along with Gabriel.

My protagonist, Jane Keating, will have an epiphany.

It won't be of death, it will be optimistic. She will go on with a new understanding of the purpose of her life. I have used sensory descriptions to bring the reader into her mind, and to empathise with Jane Keating as she returns home to Ireland from Exile.


Reference: James Joyce, Dubliners. (1914)


Thank you for your visit, while you're here, why not:

1. Read more about these fascinating characters and how I imagined their lives during the Irish Famine, buy my book, paperback or e-book, on Amazon.

2. Click on Buy my book at the top of the Home page to order a personalised, signed copy.

3. Look out for the next novel in the trilogy: 'Daughters in Exile' coming in July 2022.

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