Monday, November 24, 2014

Puzzling Over Plots, Part 2 of 3: Endings

Today I am jumping from plot beginnings all the way to endings. Why? Because it often helps to envision where your story ends before you write too many scenes. In the puzzle analogy that I've been using, we take frequent glances at the picture on the box that represents the final product. Each glance can remind us of the position of that tree or train car. Having the end in mind, keeps us from piecing sections into the wrong spots.

Knowing your ending can be a good starting point in your planning. Maybe you know a few things that happen and how it ends, but you aren't sure of your opening scene. Work backwards. Ask yourself how the character got to the end point. What happened right before? What happened before that to get him there? It's like connecting puzzle pieces in a row from right to left instead of left to right. A piece's indentation needs a certain nob that fits. What are your connecting factors that got you to the end?

In imagining your ending, make sure you are aware of the overall goal that your main character (MC) has been trying to achieve. The adversary or events that keep blocking the MC's progress now throws the worst at him that can happen. The reader thinks that all is lost until the MC figures out a way to get himself out of his predicament. He will triumph after all

In writing "Secrets of the King's Daughter", Karlinah's goals change, but her overall goal to find love and joy is taken from her when the love interest leaves the city and a kidnapper snatches her away. I had to rewrite the resolution to the climax so that Karlinah was more involved in getting out of her predicament and someone else's.

Don't leave any puzzle pieces out or you will have plot holes; the picture will not be complete. Everything must be connected and all the loose ends tied up by the end. You can resolve these in revisions, if needed. For now, get your best ending scenes onto paper. We will examine middles in the next post.


kbrebes said...

You gave me something valuable to think about here…something I'd overlooked. I appreciate that!

Renae Mackley said...

Terrific, Kathleen. That's my intent.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Great post. Dan Wells, in his 7-point system has you go to the end right after the beginning for the very reason you cited.