So I arrived at the conclusion last night that the swift downward slope to the end of this book will go much faster if the end is already first-drafted. I've had my big finale planned from word-one but that doesn't mean conclusions are easy. I've always been terrible at beginning things and ending things both in person and on paper.
Needless to say this passage might be a bit of a spoiler.
What's killing me now is I know exactly how this is ending. I know what's going to happen, why it happens and who it happens to. It's always been religious allegory, because I believe the forgiveness story of the Bible is the greatest story ever told - the very concept that someone would endure so much pain and suffering for the love of others moves me, and I wanted to write about that kind of relationship between people. Not to give too much away, but when Threadcaster comes down to brass tacks it's still a story about overcoming the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. As a result, the beautiful ending I have planned flirts really hard with line between literary and preachy. I learned at the writers' conference that writing a novel with an underlying moral is one thing, but using a novel as a vehicle for a certain message is another. To keep to the topic of allegory, if the whole point of writing the book is to show people that "Jesus is the Way", then maybe you should be writing a book about that instead of pretending to write a novel and stapling it blatantly on the end.
This is where my christian faith is causing me trouble. Yes, I chose to write an allegory because of the faith I have, but I don't want to sound like I'm pushing my readers into feeling the same. My book explores a fictionalized version of the time between the last of the old testament phrophets and the arrival of the first new testament prophet. Hundreds of years passed in the middle of these two men where the Israelites were left to sin and warp society without being told what to do by a messenger. The result was a corrupt church, an oppressed people and enough false messiahs to turn the whole idea into a fairytale. This is the world Cat and Peter live in, so how do I fall on the mainstream side of the religious vs popular fiction debate?
Perhaps I'm thinking too much about it. I'm so scared the reader is going to check clean out of my conclusion the minute the phrase "died for your sins" is uttered that I've twisted and bent all the dialog to avoid direct eye contact. Perhaps I should just straight up write my ending and let betas decide if they feel like they've been to church or not. I mean, like any author, I already know about this story and can see all the signs. Perhaps someone reading it for the first time will see a romance story first and an allegory second? Maybe they'll see comparisons between the Lord of the Rings, Lord of the Flies, The Chronicles of Narnia or one of the other supposedly religious allegories of modern times?
Really in the end there's no escaping the suspicion of religious allegory. If you search it on google you'll get articles on everything from Harry Potter and Star Wars to Halo and Toy Story 3. The fact that mine was one on purpose only makes the cloaking harder. I'm scared my twists won't pay off, my red herrings will fail in their deception, my characters will become archetypes and my audience will groan. I wish I could turn the religious part of my brain off for right now and stop analyzing every word my characters say to excess. That would make concluding everything a whole lot easier.