By: Linda S. Clare
I’ve read bestselling novels where the story felt as though it should
instead the novel went on for many more pages. Although a lot of attention is
paid to that all-important opening, let’s talk about the elements of good story
Writing Tip for Today: What are some things to consider when your story draws to a close?
WHERE’S THE CLIMAX?
Before you can consider your novel’s ending, you must know where the climax scene is located. In a traditional three-act structure, the climax is generally JUST BEFORE ACT III, or in other words at the tail end of ACT II. The climax should be a singular event, with more tension, action and more at stake than any scene
previous. In most novels, this climax scene occurs when
the MAIN STORY QUESTION is decided by ACTIONS your
protagonist takes. No more talking about what she’ll do or not do. She must
ACT. And your protagonist must solve her own problems–no cavalry riding in to
save the day. Take a look at any paper & ink book and you’ll find that this
climax scene generally comes within 30-50 pages of the end of the book. Make
sure you save the biggest scene of the novel for this climax.
ROUND UP THE HORSES
The scenes which follow your novel’s climax or do or die scene are often called “Rounding up the horses.” Generally speaking, this means you must bring to a conclusion not only the main story goal/problem, but also any subplots in the story. If you introduce Grandma who has cancer at the beginning of a novel, but then never tell whether she’s cured, dies or is still undergoing treatment, readers won’t like it. The formula for
Romance-genre applies to
every subplot: either the protagonist is happy, unhappy or happy for now about
a subplot’s outcome. Rounding up the horses will also apply to your antagonist’s fate.
Readers will want to know what happens to the main antagonist. In
mainstream/literary fiction, it’s okay (in my opinion) to hint at a direction
the character seems to be going rather than supplying a pat or neat answer. I
guess that’s like rounding up the horses but leaving the gate slightly open.
SATISFY THE READER
. . .
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If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again:
Wounds Thesaurus Entry:
BeingMugged - WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™ http://ow.ly/QWziP
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- Dialog Writing 101: Conversational Mechanics | Live Write Thrive http://ow.ly/QWzN1
- Karen Woodward: 4 Tips For Finding Beta Readers Right For You http://ow.ly/QWzOg
masterclasssnapshots – ‘My drafts are too brief’ | Nail Your Novel http://ow.ly/QWzPn
:Why I Stopped Promoting My Book On Twitter http://ow.ly/QWzYx
- Writing Advice from the Bookshelf: Nancy Kress on Taking a Wrong (Story) Turn | KayeDacus.com http://ow.ly/QWAcm
- Why Scene Making is a Great Idea | Linda S. Clare http://ow.ly/QWAgD
- Anne R. Allen's Blog: Why Social Media is Still Your Best Path to Book Visibility http://ow.ly/QWAnQ
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