Saturday, August 25, 2012

Satisfying Endings.

What makes the best endings in my opinion?

In a word:  Resonance.

I want to come up for air from amid those final pages gasping and reeling from the emotional impact of an ending so powerful, that I need to sit in my overstuffed chair holding the book and just basking in the post-read glow.

hmmm... is that too much? *sorry*

I want to feel giddy with the symmetry and structure of the perfectly executed plot timing.

I want emotional payoff.

I want to have never in a million years have seen that coming, but once I get there, I can't see it working out any other way.

And as a writer, I want to know how to do this. ;)

 I have been studying this topic, having just started the revision process on my own WIP, and here is what I have come up with thus far:   (only time and you guys with tell if I am on the right track.)

 All of the loose ends (plot threads) must tie up, and the two main characters (not necessarily lovers) must reconcile from a conflict, while solving the big problem, and inflicting poetic justice upon the villain, which simultaneously addresses the main characters internal conflict...and all of these things must happen very close together, but in a natural and believable way. 

That's it?

No prob.

LOL!  I have a bit of a headache just looking at that paragraph.

*rolls up sleeves* 

Wish me luck, you guys!

Some of my favorite super-satisfying endings:
(sorry, I had to make #1 a movie...
 the ending was that good!)

5. The Host by Stephanie Meyer

4. Bag of Bones by Stephen King

3. The Taking by Dean Koontz

2. Duma Key by Stephen King

1. Se7en by Andrew Kevin Walker

p.s. sorry if I wrongly led you to believe that I had some kind of formula or quick fix for endings... the truth is...there isn't one...but it sure is fun to dream about, huh?!


p.p.s here is an awesome set of audio pod casts about endings by some people who are super good at them:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Human kindness

One day, while I was still working at my horrific clinic job and commuting seventeen hours a week to and from work, I drove up on a pick-up truck that had slammed into the big concrete wall on the Interstate ramp.

I pulled over, and grabbed my stethoscope and bag, and ran (carefully) to the truck.  There were already several bystanders off on the emergency shoulder, and I arrived at the same time as another EMT who had been on his way to work. 

The truck doors were locked and the solitary driver was unresponsive, so a by-stander, a very nice business man in a tie, used a tool from his vehicle to bust out the back window for the younger and more flexible EMT to crawl through and unlock the door for a much less versatile me.

While my fellow EMT and I were in the truck with the unresponsive driver, a concerned young couple stood by the passenger door near me relaying between me and the 9 1 1 dispatcher.

 Another middle aged man in Carharts and work boots moved our cars for the fire dept. ambulance to park safely and directed traffic away from us to make the dangerous situation a tiny bit less dangerous (for us in the truck, I did fear a bit for him, but when I asked him to be careful, he simple smiled and winked. lol)

The fire dept. for that township arrived swiftly, taking over patient care and we all nodded and smiled.  We went our separate ways without another word. (except the good Samaritan business man who broke out the window for us, he gave a fire man his business card to pay for damages! How friggin sweet!)

The point is this.  Those people were all  busy, but when they saw a stranger in need, they jumped at the opportunity to be there, even though it was a rather dangerous Interstate ramp during rush hour.  I teared up a tiny bit on my drive home.  Those people were amazing everyday heroes.  I realized as I was driving home that they were like a Stephen King cast of characters, from Mile 81, or The Mist. 

That is something that I love in his fiction.  That human compassion. 

Not many of us get to experience that in our day-to-day lives on a big scale (thank God, because it usually is in a time of crisis), and I think fiction is a great place to  get that kind of connection. 

I love when characters in books make us tear up over simple heroic acts of human kindness.  It is inspiring and heartwarming.  It makes us want to be the kind of people who do those extraordinary kinds of things. :)

I'm really behind in my NaNoWriMo-ing in this week #3, so I have to go write... a lot... but that was on my mind this morning when I woke up, and I wanted you guys to know that Ohio has some really awesome people. 

I don't know who any of you are, but if you read this by chance... I was really proud of you all.

Norah Jones - I Think It's Gonna Rain Today

Sunday, August 5, 2012

August Camp NaNoWriMo Wk#2 (Brain Drain)

The side effect of writing all summer at a NaNoWriMo pace, is that I seem to have very little juice left when it comes to interesting blog posts. 

So, I shall blog about recharging between writing sessions.

Sometimes writing is so much fun, when I'm really synced up with my story and characters... but other times... it can feel like someone is inserting a 14 gauge needle attached to a 60cc syringe and forcibly extracting the story from my brain.  (too graphic? sorry.)

On the occasion when I walk away psyched and all amped up by my work, it is very easy to resume my writing the next day... but what about those other times?  How do we recharge?

Well, honestly... I don't have a consistent answer to that question... yet.

I have been avoiding the television.  I find that it makes it too difficult to say engaged in my story when the going gets tough, if I have all those other story lines floating around... not to mention the time drain.

I will free up an extra hour or so before bed, and try to just listen to my story soundtrack and just think about what has happened in my WIP.  Replay some of my favorite, or key moments and then spin off them into some new scenes.   If it works, then I have a direction to start in ... and sometimes that take on a life of its own once my fingers start typing. 

That is one thing about writing that I am still in awe of:  the way your brain seemingly switches over to a secret compartment once your fingers begin typing a scene.  It's like 'Whoa! Where did that come from?'

What are some ways that you guys recharge between tough writing sessions?  I'm all about trying new things here... anything. :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August Camp NaNoWriMo!

Once again, it is time for Camp NaNoWriMo!

I've been busy working on my world building over the summer, and after June's NaNoWriMo, and the month I've had to polish that off- I am happy to say, that my setting and characters are pretty well established to be able to pick up where I left off over the next 31 days. :)

My plan is to take the world and characters from June and push them farther... to a new breaking point... and beyond.

Hopefully most of them will survive, but given that it is a continuation/sequel to my prior WIP, I can't say much more.  *no spoilers* ;)

Happy Writing!!!

Grounding the reader using "The Pyramid of Abstraction"

In my geekery on writing education, I have stumbled upon a concept introduced in both of these sources by Brandon Sanderson (whom I have ...