Today is your day to wrap up the main action of your story and plan how you will end it..
Just Got Here?
The Climax & Resolution
Yesterday you should have planned out this section, which I called ‘until something changes’.
In the previous parts of the story, your character was taking actions based on what they already knew and who they already were. The first one probably didn’t go so well and the second one was something of a reaction to that.
By this point, your character has realized something has to change.
In this section you get to choose whether you are allowing them to make the smart choice (changing for the better) or the stupid one (rejecting everything they’ve learned and staying stubbornly the same),
Today is the day to write the final action they take that resolves the story, answers the ‘will they or won’t they succeed’ that you have planted in the reader’s mind, and sets the stage for tomorrow’s emotional reaction (i.e. the ending).
The resolution of your story is where they take (or suffer the consequences of) the actions that brought them to this point
- If you want a happy ending, then the character gets what they want or need.
- If you want a bittersweet ending, they get one but not the other.
- If you want a sad ending, they don’t get either
- Saddest of all, they CHOSE not to change in the way that is necessary for them to get what they want (sob!)
Remember that the plot is the actions your character have been taking, that keep things moving along.
There’s an argument to be made that the real story is the inner journey of the character.
Don’t forget to resolve both.
Brainstorm The Ending
(If the perfect ending comes to you today, by all means, write it down! But don’t feel you have to force it.)
The ending is different from the resolution, in that the closing lines are less about the character and more about the relationship between you and the reader.
When you tie up the action and the inner story of the character, the reader trusts that you’re a good storyteller.
When you take time to craft a really great closing, it’s as if you’re turning to the reader and saying, “Hey, do you see? Did you feel that? What are you going to do with what you just experienced, out there in your own life?”
It shouldn’t (in my not-so-humble opinion) often be as obvious as that. We’re not Aesop, telling fables. But we should pay attention to how we want the reader to feel on the way out of the door (of our story).
Here are some of my favorite ways to give a story an emotional closing:
Leave a comment letting us know what kind of ending you think you will write, and if you feel you have in place, all the parts a story needs.
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to write that ending and check out the bonus section on making your opening better, now that you have your story drafted.
Bonus Pep Talk
I wanted to acknowledge something: by this point in the challenge you might be feeling some emotions.
- The happy buzz of having a sense of how this story wants to end
- A feeling of disappointment that it hasn’t been as easy as you hoped
- Gnawing doubt about your abilities as a writer
- Pride that you’ve stuck with it this long.
(Being creative is hard work. And confusing!)
The best advice I’ve ever heard for dealing with this mix of emotions is to simply commit to doing the next step.
- If the story isn’t finished? Finish it.
- If the story isn’t ready for its public? Keep revising.
- If you’ve sent it out and are waiting for a reaction from readers? Write the next thing.
Tomorrow we’ll wrap up the writing on this story. What tiny task will you commit to doing, next?
Hint: I’m going to suggest that you keep some time open to read over your story because I have a special bonus for those of you taking part: a chance to get my eyes (and perhaps those of a few of my trusted friends) on your story.
Carve out some time to join me live, this Saturday, Sept 17, 10 AM (Eastern US) for a special event!