Today we’re pivoting towards the ending. Brainstorming, all the way!
Now that you have a sense of where your character is going, you’re probably starting to get a sense of how you want to end this thing.
Today I want to give you the confidence to know that you can make that turn and begin to put an ending on this story!
The story begins to end when something finally changes for your character. Maybe it’s internal, maybe it’s forced on them by an external event, but the final action they take in the story answers the ‘will they or won’t they’ achieve their desire.
(If you’re getting fancy it can answer the question of whether or not their desire is actually the same as what they need, but that’s a more advanced task!)
Remember: we’re thinking about the events that show us how the character ultimately deals with whatever they’ve faced during this story. It will probably tell us something about how they have changed (or refused to).
Don’t worry about how you put a bow on the ending yet. We’ll talk about that on a future day. Just think about what might happen, or at the very least, how you want your reader to feel as they exit the story.
(This emotional part is useful to write down now, because it can get lost as you wrestle with the actual writing part. Keep it handy, as a sign post, for when you’re writing this part!)
Leave a comment telling us how today’s task went. Did you have a sense of hw your character will have changed by the end? Do you know how you want your readers to feel?
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Premee Mohammed dug into her a short story stash of ideas to share one with us.
‘Superheroes, community service/non-jail punishment for crime, a secret society.
In a world where superpowers are real, a convicted criminal is spared a prison term… If he agrees to do community service, enforced by an unknown league of incognito superheroes. But how can he skip town while he’s always under their surveillance?”
After our recent podcast episode we discussed this prompt. She suggested that a short story is “an answered question”. This is an insight that REALLY helped me, as I thought about how to start, and end, short stories.
This is raw from the from the index card and I asked Premee to tell us how she would take something like this, a note, and start to think about turning it into a story.
The initial phrase that I sent is a setting or a premise, rather than a plot; it’s the setup.
I would probably start by trying to figure out who might be involved—a reasonable number of people for a short story—and how they could conflict with each other, or how their needs could conflict with each other.
I’d make sure I set up some decision points to answer. The question should be set up at the start, you know, because like a short story is really an answered question, right?
I find it useful to have that question at the start instead of having it develop sort of midway through, because then the whole story can be guided by that.
Premee Mohamed is an Indo-Caribbean scientist and speculative fiction writer based in Canada. Her short fiction has appeared in a variety of venues and her debut novel, ‘Beneath the Rising,’ came out from Solaris Books in March 2020. She can be found on Twitter at @premeesaurus.
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