Writing the end of the book is the absolutely hardest part for me. I adore beginnings. Beginning lines pop into my head and they very rarely change because they're usually perfect (the only part of the book that ever is for me). I love the setup. The sweet romance of when my hero and heroine and I are really getting to know each other.
I don't mind the middle either. It's fun and games or drama and angst, but lots of stuff is happening.
What's teeth-pulling-agony are those last fifty pages or so, where everything that's come before must result in a payoff.
Last semester I took a class in creative fiction writing. We're talking academic, literary crowd here. The instructor claimed that the beginning was the most important part of the story and the ending didn't even really matter.
My jaw dropped. Seriously? I couldn't wrap my head around that assertion. If the ending doesn't matter then what the heck was the point of the beginning? The ending reflects the changes of everything that's gone on during the course of the book. To blow off the ending, in my opinion, negates the entire story. But then I come from the world of happily ever after. The hero and heroine must get together in the end. But in order to have an effective believeable ending, it's got to be carefully orchestrated. I might not always be successful at writing the best endings, but I darn well give it everything I've got.
What about you? As a reader, what's your favorite part of a book? Beginning, middle or end? It's okay if you agree with my instructor. Hey, I'm great at beginnings.