Writing an Effective Ending

Story endings can be tricky. You want to know when to stop to pack the most punch and satisfy your readers. These can be hard to figure out so today let’s look at when to end your novel and some dos and don’ts for ending your story.

  • Don’t introduce any new information, subplots, or characters (without foreshadowing) towards the end of your novel. You should be resolving any loose ends, not adding more.
  • Do make your ending satisfying. It doesn’t have to be a happily ever after ending, but it shouldn’t disappoint your readers.
  • Do not use flashbacks. Keep the action moving forward and don’t slow down your pacing.
  • Do Show, Don’t Tell. Once again don’t slow the action down with a lot of exposition.
  • Do resolve the central conflict. Even if you are writing a series, you still need to tie up the major conflict of this book’s story arc, even if you don’t resolve the major arc of the series.

As far as knowing when to end things, we just need to ask ourselves a few questions.

  • Has the conflict ended? If your characters have beat the baddie, you only need to resolve loose ends and call it a day.
  • Has your dramatic question been answered? Dramatic questions are the questions you raise with your readers such as will she defeat the villain and save her family; will he get the girl in the end; and will she save humanity and find the cure? If this question has been answered, your story is finished. Craft the ending.
  • Has your protagonist’s goal been reached? She’s been working towards one thing the entire story, so when she finally attains her goal, it’s time to end the story.
  • Has your climax just occurred? Your climax is the ultimate confrontation between the baddie and your protagonist. If it’s just happened, you know it’s time to wrap things up.

These should help you find your ending and make it one readers will love. What tips do you have for ending your stories? Share below and happy writing.

Julia

Follow me at Our Write Side and on Twitter for more tips and inspiration and find me on Facebook for weekly prompts and stories.

Re: Life

I haven’t really done any updates on my life and current status so I thought I’d take the time to do so today. I have many projects going on to keep me busy, but it has also led to a bit of a burnout for me. Right now I’m struggling to overcome that and get unstuck.

My WiP that I’m always working on is my debut novel/novella which I have been working on for the past year. It’s a YA fantasy that deals with angel and demon mythology and it’s my first finished first draft. After I finished draft one, I sent it on to my editor and waited two agonizing months to get it back. It’s been about two months since I have gotten it back and I’m still stuck in edits. It’s been a real struggle for me the past couple weeks to work on it at all and it’s become a daunting prospect to face every day. I haven’t worked on edits at all for the past few days and I think I’ll take a week off from it so that I can approach it with fresh eyes and a lighter heart. I’m confident that will help.

I’ve also been working on several short stories, one of which is for a competition held by Our Write Side, the website that I write for. It’s styled off of Lewis Carroll and the theme was summer kidnapping winter. It was fun to write, but I’ll add more fantastical elements in edits. And I’ve been writing my weekly column for Our Write Side. You can find it here and I recommend you check it out. I use it to further explore an aspect of the topics I write about here on the blog, so it makes for great supplemental reading if you find this blog helpful. I’ve been writing for them since February and I love working with them. I also do artwork for them on occasion. A painting of mine will feature as the cover of their summer literary journal, so that’s exciting.

Finally, a major project I’ve been working on is developing lessons for a class on writing. I find this work very rewarding, but it does take a lot of brain power and I hate recording myself for the lectures. This in particular has proved to be time consuming and takes me away from working on my WiP or short stories. And since I am working on one per week this is an ongoing problem. I think I just need to organize my time better. But it will be awesome once the lessons are finished and the course is available online. I’ll keep you all posted when that’s available.

That’s my life right now, a little hectic and frazzled, but I can’t complain too much. After a short break, I’ll be back to tackling edits and getting my WiP closer to being published, which is the goal. Hope all is well in your world and happy writing to you all!

Julia

Follow me on Our Write Side and Twitter for more writing tips and inspiration and find me on Facebook for weekly prompts and stories.

Structuring Your Story

Much like building a house with a strong foundation, we must build our stories using structure to shape them. Today we’re going to look over a few different structures we can use to build your story.

The Three Act Structure

  • Act 1- Exposition. This is where we establish the main characters, their relationships with each other, and the story world they inhabit. It ends with the inciting incident.
  • Act 2- Rising action. This is where our protagonist tries to deal with the story problem and fails. The character must grow and change in order to accomplish her goals.
  • Act 3- Climax and resolution. The climax is the biggest climactic event where the hero goes head to head with the antagonist. The rest of the act is wrapping up all the plot lines and establishing the new norm for the characters.

The Fichtean Curve

  • The Fichtean Curve starts with rising action mixed with exposition. It starts with the inciting incident and has 3 crises points leading up to the climax two-thirds of the way into the story. The rest of the time is spent on the resolution.

The Hero’s Journey

  • This is often used for fantasy, sci-fi, and horror stories. It starts in the character’s known world and then they receive a call for action that they usually refuse initially. Eventually they take the call and enter a new world full of conflict thanks to the antagonist. They defeat the bad guy in a moment of death and rebirth, transforming themselves before returning home.

In Media Res

  • In media res means starting in the middle. It starts in the middle of the action, juggling crises points with flashbacks and exposition before reaching the climax. This is then followed by falling action and more flashbacks before the resolution.

These structures give your story shape and can help you plot your story before you begin. Find the one that works best for you and for your story and get started. Which structure is your personal favorite? Let me know in the comments and happy writing!

Julia

Follow me at Our Write Side and on Twitter for more tips and inspiration. Find me on Facebook for weekly prompts and stories.

How to Tackle Writer’s Block

The dreaded writer’s block. We’ve all dealt with it at some time or another and it can be absolutely devastating to experience as a writer. But there are ways to get around your block. Let’s explore some today.

  • Write every day. Set up a regular time for writing and show up to write. Make your writing a habit.
  • When you can’t write, read. Build your craft and spark new ideas.
  • Read books on craft. I recommend Stephen King’s “On Writing.”
  • Freewrite for fifteen minutes. Dump whatever is clogging your brain onto the page so the good stuff can come out.
  • Create realistic and manageable goals. Set a word count goal for the day or write for an hour. Break down bigger tasks into smaller ones you can tackle.
  • Allow yourself to write badly. They’re called drafts for a reason. You can always edit a bad page.
  • Switch things around. You don’t have to write in chronological order. I find that I write best jumping around. Just keep a scene list so you know what needs to be written.
  • Change your routine. Write in a different location, change your playlist, go outside.
  • Go for a walk. Moving helps you think. Go for a stroll while you mull things over.
  • Do something else creative. Paint, draw, make music, sew a new outfit. Get your creative juices flowing.
  • Listen to music. Instrumental is best.
  • Do word sprints. You can set up sprints to do alone or with some writing pals. Make these sprints public so you’ll be held accountable.

Most importantly, push through these blocks. Think critically of your plot and whether or not it’s going in the right direction (this could be causing your block in the first place). You can’t wait for your muse to inspire you so get writing today. Now is a great time.

Do you have any tips for breaking writer’s block? Comment below and check out Our Write Side and Twitter Twitter for more writing tips and inspiration. And find me on Facebook for weekly prompts and stories. Happy writing!