Endings at the Beginning of the Day

I don't know how other writers come up with endings for their books, but I get mine long before I even finish writing the story. Often, the end reveals itself and all I need to do is direct the story toward it. The end of Book One came to me last week, and the end of Book Three night before last. Book Two's end is still out there somewhere, waiting. I never try to devise endings, they just come to me. I suspect this this pretty common...

My grandfather, who grew up as a child star in Vaudeville, used to to say, "Give 'em a smash beginning and a bang-up end, and the middle will take care of itself." I've found that holds true in just about everything. Those old song and dance men understood how memory works, and they milked the audience using this formula. People will forgive a lot if the ending knocks them off their feet.

When it comes to endings, with music as well as books, I like symmetry. I like to bring everything back around from the beginning and tie it up with a big red bow. That's my neo-classicism at work, the old A-B-A that is hardwired into me. It's in all of us, as a matter of fact. Play a three chord progression, I (tonic), IV (sub-dominant), V (Dominant)... and the brain automatically returns to I (tonic). Try this:

                                                 I                                      IV
Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,
                                           V                                                                        I
Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee;
                                           I                                                 IV
Sounds of the rude world heard in the day,
                                          V                                                                         I
Lulled by the moonlight have all passed away.

 Hear how the brain wants to naturally go back "home" to the tonic? If I have a formula for writing, it's this. Oh, and welcome to your first lesson in Music Theory.

I'd give you a bang-up ending to this post, but I'm up early and my brain isn't quite awake yet.