Welcome back to, Don’t Get it Right, Get it Written! By Stuart White
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Stuart continues his tips on how to….Wrap up your novel.
ROUNDING IT OFF
So you come to Chapter Twenty. The end. Here’s another tip for your novel. We’ve seen full-of-hope-and-innocence get to Hollywood and tracked her delusion. We opened on her being semi-drunk with her lover, bemoaning her lost soul. But that’s not enough; we’ve all heard and read enough real-life stories like that. Why leave your novel on a sour note? Hope springs eternal and everyone – publishers especially – love a happy ending.
Why not have some spiritual Damascene moment for Gretchen? Maybe her childhood sweetheart turns up, now divorced, successful businessman; sick of his own shallow life. Maybe she secretly wants to open a pet sanctuary with all her ill-gotten loot. (Remember Doris Day?) Above all seeing something, maybe a pet she rescues from an alley, or the old boyfriend, or the view of a lake – something – finally convinces her she wants out.
She goes to the studio does her last take. Movie mogul offers her a $15 million role, she tears up his offer. Then gets into ex-boyfriend’s car, and they drive past the Hollywood sign heading East (I know that’s not geographically correct but you get my drift). She leaves the smog ridden den of iniquity called Hollywood and we see her ascend into the snow-topped alpine air of the San Gabriel mountains. Geographic contrast here paralleling moral conduct. From smog to snow, from traffic choked streets to fresh cold upland air. You’re making a moral point with a visual allusion. -And your story has taken her from belief to disillusionment back to belief and hope again.
HEY, HOLD ON A SECOND!
And at this point you’re going, “Back the truck up here buddy, that’s not my damned story. Why is he droning on about Hollywood and smog and snow-capped mountains?” I’ll tell you why. No, it’s not your story. What I’m trying to show is what you could do with YOUR story. I’m giving suggestions – that’s all they are – on how possibly to use suspense and visual metaphors in your writing.
I’m giving you guideposts as to how to construct YOUR story. Surprise, confound, turn things on their heads when you can, but above all write a good, gripping, interesting and coherent story. Use the above as a kind of sketch of what you COULD do with your story. How to start it, write it and end it.
* Be sure you know what your story is about.
* Be sure to understand your characters, what moves them and motivates them and physically and psychologically how they look and act.
* Plan out your story. (And don’t be afraid to rejiggle the order if you think, en route, it works better).
* Make sure your chapters – if you are able to – end on a note that leads us wanting desperately to know what happens next.
TO BE CONTINUED…..COME BACK TOMORROW FOR MORE GREAT WRITING TIPS. Don’t Get it Right, Get it Written!
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