(caveat: This topic was brought up over on Nathan Bransford's forums back in July and has been in my head ever since. You can read it here.)
I struggled when working on the ending scenes to my WIP, Journey to Andryea (working title). I had all the important stuff charted out on pages of notes, like who had to be where, who had to admit what crucial piece of info, or how did the events affect the MC's journey?
After enough procrastination, I finally sat down and started pounding out the ending. I knew how I wanted it to go, but I didn't know how I wanted to do it. I admit it's still a bit rough in some places, but for now, it's at a place where I can put it down and work on something different.
Then I read a thread over on the Bransforums about how authors deal with the "end" of the final climactic scene. The thread starter pointed out that she could either start the next chapter after a passage of time, or immediately after the crucial moment, but wasn't sure which one to do. People suggested the author write out both endings and go with what felt right. What a novel (excuse the pun) concept!
If we all know that you're not supposed to start out a book in a dream sequence because it lulls your reader into a false beginning, then is it also taboo to end the climactic scene of your book with your MC falling unconscious? I thought back to JtA and realized I did exactly that.
In order to wrap up the climax and get all the key players back to their respective places on the novel chess board, I had my MC pass out/end chapter. The next chapter began two weeks later. And she awoke from a dream.
Two weeks later AND a dream!
Author fail. Knowing that the large climactic battle scene was one of a community's overall survival, two weeks seems like a large break in action before my MC returns. This was a technique I used so I could fill in the "then what" scenes with conversations.* In this situation, I needed to quickly tell the reader how things were getting back to normal while I focused more on the threats and plot lines related to the characters. A few pages later, the story ended with a clear place to pick up in the next book.
How about you?
Does it bother you when there's a gratuitous passage of time just so the author can nicely wrap things up? Or would you rather skip the 2 weeks and pick it up later, after things are wrapped up?
* = this is also commonly used in TV shows where a year will pass. Recent examples include True Blood and Bones. If you're fans of either show, let me know if the technique worked for you. So far, I don't have any real complaints about either one.