Watching the eclipse brought this word to mind. It’s funny how we humans act. People came from all over the world to various parts of the U.S. They braved traffic, heat, and sunburn. My wife and I stood out in the back yard for an hour and observed the sky growing ever darker until the zenith at 98%. I likened the darkening light to wearing sunglasses.
10 minutes after it was over we were putting our chairs back on the porch and retreating to the cool air conditioning indoors. According to the news, where there was totality, people began to scramble to their cars as soon as the sun started to reappear. They did this even though the sky was still dimmed by the partial blockage of the moon.
Anticipation in the human character is a funny thing. We spend most of our lives in a state of anticipation. Sometimes it’s excitement, and sometimes it’s anxiety. We can spend years reaching a goal, but just minutes or a few hours celebrating the effort
This is why stories should always spend the majority of their time going somewhere. Normally with small conflicts and peaks that resolve along the way. Much like climbing a mountain, we are always writing to the ultimate goal. The highest peak, the very pinnacle of our character’s conflict. Once we get there we should not spend a lot of time on the back side.
We do not need to drag the readers out another fifty pages to wrap things up once they get to the climax of the story. When we pass the sun’s corona we need to remember everyone is going to their cars. Wrap things up in a few pages before your readers leave without you.