Tips for writing good story endings

Tips for writing good story endings

Sent by Suzanne Lieurance

Many writers have trouble coming up with the perfect ending for a story.

And the perfect ending is really important because it is often the ending of a story that people remember most.

That’s because a good ending ties everything together and leaves the reader feeling satisfied.

To write good story endings, keep these tips in mind:

1.  A good ending is made possible by having a good beginning and a good middle. 

If you’re having trouble with the ending of your story, go back and look at your beginning and middle. What is the BIG thing your main character is trying to do or solve at the start of the story? Is it clear throughout the story that your character is trying to solve this problem?

Everything in the beginning and middle of your story needs to relate to this problem. When it does, it will be much easier to come up with the perfect ending. If it doesn’t, you won’t be able to create the perfect ending to your story.

Try this: Write down, in one or two sentences, what the main conflict is in your story. If you have trouble doing this, you probably need to get clearer about the main story problem.

2. Your ending should come about because of the actions and events we see in the beginning and the middle of your story.

For example, don’t have some character we’ve never seen before suddenly appear at the end of the story to help the main character solve the problem or solve it for him. This won’t make for a satisfying ending.

If you want to have another character help the main character at the end, we need to see this character in the middle of the story, not just the ending. Also remember that the ending needs to come about because of action or actions the main character did or did not take. Things can’t simply happen to the main character by chance. And someone else can’t simply step in and save the day for your main character. Things need to happen because of actions and decisions the main character makes throughout the story.

3. Make sure you have plenty of conflict (rising action) that leads to the climax and ending of the story.

Endings tend to fall flat if there isn’t plenty of conflict in the middle of the story, with all sorts of decisions and actions the main character faces before he’s able to solve or resolve the overall problem.

4. Good endings evoke some sort of emotion in the reader.

To write endings that do this, start by reading other published stories in the genre you wish to write. See how they ended and how you felt at the ending. Make a few notes about how the authors evoked these emotions. You’ll have to practice writing endings that cause readers to feel emotions, so take your time.

When you have a clear problem that is evident throughout the story, and plenty of conflict throughout the story as the main character tries to solve this problem, it is much easier to create the perfect ending to your story –an ending that evokes emotion from your reader and leaves him feeling satisfied.

So follow these tips until you come up with an ending for your story that is just right!

Try it!

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Suzanne Lieurance is an author, freelance writer, writing coach, speaker and workshop presenter. She is a former classroom teacher and was an instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature for over 8 years.

Lieurance has written over 30 published books and her articles and stories have appeared in various magazines, newsletters, and newspapers. She offers a variety of coaching programs via private phone calls, teleclasses, listserv, and private email for writers who want to turn their love of writing into a part-time or full-time career at www.workingwriterscoach.com. She is also president and founder of The Working Writer’s Club at www.workingwritersclub.com.

Find Suzanne and her writing in these places:

Working Writers’ Coach — Amazon.comAmazon.ca — Goodreads — Facebook — Twitter

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Who’s afraid of the Big, Blank Page?

Who’s afraid of the Big, Blank Page?

Sent by Angie Noll

Little Red Riding Hood might have been afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, but writers are often terrified of something far more innocuous… a simple piece of white paper (or blank screen).

There have been times in my writing life when crossing paths with Little Red’s wolf would have been preferable to the task of committing words and ideas to the page. I know I’m not the only one.

As new writers, the first thing we often do is make a pit stop at our local stationary store to indulge our inner writer with a basket of lovely writing goodies. Armed with our new, sparkly notebook and special, easy-flow writing pen in hand, we proceed to write up a storm.

Then, one day, we notice how much we’ve written, and we realise, ‘I am a writer!’ And with these four little words, everything changes. The next time we open our notebook, we find ourselves staring at the blank page, unable to write a thing. What happened?

Why is it so often easy, right at the beginning, to fill page after page, but once we become aware that we’re actually writing, that creativity freezes up and the words stop flowing? The same phenomenon happens when we start off writing casually, but once we decide to take it to the next level, we lose the delicious abandon we had before.

The answer lies in our innocence. When we’re still new to the process of writing, we don’t know yet that writing is one of those tasks that we purposefully engage in while simultaneously letting go of any form of control over the process; that it’s a balancing act between control and surrender.

It’s when we try to control the writing process that the blank page turns from a friendly wolf into a snarling beast and, unlike Little Red, (who seemed to lack all common sense), we run away from it, screaming, “I can’t write!”

Before we self-identify as a writer, we’re naturally able to control and surrender in the right proportions – because we have no expectations of ourselves. But once we label ourselves as writers, that natural ability seems to fly out the window as all attention is now myopically focused on controlling the writing process.

So it’s not really the blank page that sends us fleeing from our writing desk. It’s the unspoken series of expectations that we place upon ourselves, as writers, which we now have to live up to. And, we believe, we can only live up to them by painstakingly trying to control the writing process.

Now, suddenly, we are expected to produce something of worth, something that will satisfy everybody who reads it.

Now, suddenly, we expect our story, our article, our blog post, to be flawless from beginning to end.

Now, suddenly, we expect ourselves to churn out new, excellent and perfect writing at every single writing session, because if we don’t, we tell ourselves that we’re not real writers anymore.

With such an impossible list of expectations that we imagine real writers live up to, it’s no wonder that our creative spirit goes into hiding every time we pick up our pen (no matter how glitzy and cute it is.) If we could surrender to the process of writing, like we did before we labelled ourselves as writers, we would see the folly of our expectations.

We would remember that no piece of writing ever has to satisfy anyone except ourselves.

We would remember that no piece of writing is ever flawless.

We would remember that no piece of writing is ever perfect after the first draft. Or the second. Or the third. Possibly not even after the fourth, fifth or sixth drafts.

The next time you find yourself staring at the blank page too petrified to pen a word, remember the following:

  • Don’t compare yourself to anyone else – novice or professional. Ever.
  • Writing is a journey that the writer goes on. Every time you sit down to write something, it’s like going on a treasure hunt deep into your Self, excavating what’s there and pouring it out into some form of writing. Sometimes you’ll dig up rubbish, sometimes gold.
  • If you’re serious about writing, then be willing to write badly. Bad writing is your training wheels.
  • There is no right way to write. Only your way.

Speaking of the right way to write… If Little Red had used a bit of creativity and found her own path to her granny’s house, instead of using the one that everyone else used, the Big Bad Wolf probably wouldn’t have found her at all. He was just hanging around, knowing there would always be travellers that choose to stay on the straight and narrow path because they’re too afraid to explore what else is out there. Easy pickings for him.

So skip along on your writing journey in your own, unique way. Find a path with scenery that you can enjoy, pick some flowers along the way, and take your time. Don’t allow generalised expectations of what writer’s are supposed to be, or the excessive control that this inspires, distract you from your journey.

Happy Writing!

I’m an Intuitive Life coach originally from Johannesburg, South Africa. I combine life coaching with guidance that I receive from the Angels and my Guides. I work with people from all over the world via Skype, and am passionate about helping people move forward with their creative dreams. Other than my work, I’m passionate about writing and teaching people how to use their intuition. I’m also a regular Ashtanga yoga practitioner and meditator. I live with my two daughters and my partner, our dog, cat and guinea pigs in a happy but noisy (and rickety) little house at the edge of a cliff in Auckland, New Zealand.

 

 

Find Angie and her writing in these places:

AngieNoll.com —  Facebook — TUT.com

The best time to write your fiction book blurb isn’t when you think

The best time to write your fiction book blurb isn’t when you think

Sent by Glenna Mageau

Writing the fiction book blurb is something that many authors don’t think about… until they are finished writing their novels. What if I told you that that might why it’s so difficult to write?

I don’t know about you, but I was taught that when you write a story, you start at the beginning and you write until it’s finished. In other words, you write linearly, from start to end. And I used to do this with all my stories and everything I did with them – I’d do one thing, finish it and then move on to the next.

So, I’d write my novel, do the rewrites, edit, rewrite and then send it out to my beta team. And that’s when I’d start thinking about writing my fiction book blurb. By this time, though, I was so immersed in the novel and all that happened, I didn’t know what to include and what not to. Little did I know I was truly making the whole process more difficult.

Now to be honest, when I do something I do make sure that I am focused on it so that I am doing a good job with it. However, as soon as I stop doing it, whether finished or not, I move on to doing something else.

My old method of waiting until I was finished writing the book, was a big mistake. What it did was give me a lot of extra work to do. I’d have to read back through 95,000 words and try to figure out what to pull from that. What was interesting? What would give a good idea of what my story was about? How was I supposed to put it all together?

Aaaaahhhhh. It used to drive me crazy. I would spend hours, days, weeks working on this thing. It was painful.

Until I finally figured out there was a much simpler way of doing it. When I published my second novel and I discovered I still found writing the fiction book blurb so daunting, I realized I had to figure out why it was so hard. Writing 200 words for an author or writer is really, relatively easy. Writing 200 words that encapsulates 90,000? A whole different story.

After a lengthy journey of studying what makes fiction book blurbs compelling and then figuring out how to do that, I discovered that when I write the fiction book blurb made all the difference.

If I start writing my book description at the same time as I write my novel, here’s what happens:

  1. I am done writing it by the time I’m done writing my novel
  2. My fiction book blurb is so much more compelling and interesting
  3. I can really grab the essence of the story
  4. It is so much easier to know what to pull from the story
  5. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the story – what to include and what not to include.

Having now published four novels, I can honestly say that when I write the fiction book blurb, truly makes all the difference. It is so much easier to write it at the same time as I write my novel. Doing that along with knowing what to pull from my stories has made the process really quite simple. When I’m done writing my novel, I’m done writing my fiction book blurb. In fact, I often have the book description written before I’m 3/4’s finished writing my novel. I love it.

If I can give you a piece of advice — the moment you start writing your novel, ensure that you’re starting to write your fiction book blurb. It will save you time, stress and frustration. And you’ll find it just sounds so much better. So not only will you feel better about what you’ve written but your novel will thank you as well.

How about you? What process do you follow?

Want more tips on writing a fiction book blurb? Sign-up for my free ebook – 3 Keys to Creating a Compelling and Interesting Fiction Book Blurb.

Glenna Mageau an award-winning suspense/thriller author, who works with Indie/Self Published authors to create attention grabbing fiction book blurbs. Her first attempts at writing fiction book blurbs were dismal, time consuming and very stressful. Finally figuring out how to write interesting, compelling and attention grabbing ones, she created a course – Mastering the Art of Writing the Catchy Fiction Book Blurb – to help all Indie/Self-published authors do the same.

 

 

 

Find Glenna and her writing in these places:

GlennaMageau.com — Amazon.comAmazon.ca — GoodreadsFacebookTwitter — Pinterest

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A daring, creative adventure

A daring, creative adventure

Sent by Wendy Dewar Hughes

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

This quote by Helen Keller essentially sums up life in the creative lane, which is not the same as life in the fast lane. Life in the creative lane is about stepping out of the normal lane of everyday life and making creative changes by doing things you would not ordinarily think of doing—or that present a creative challenge for you.

Depending on where you live or the life you have already lived, the word “adventure” will roll out different images in your mind.

For some, adventure is an Indiana Jones or Pirates of the Caribbean type of life—cheating death while seeking a treasure and buckling one’s swash. For others, it could be deciding to wear blue nail polish, or taking a different route to work.

Try taking a quick inventory of your life, a snapshot of where you were last year and where you are today. Any changes?

Most of us tend to stay in our comfort zones. We hang out with the same people. We shop at the same stores, do the same things for entertainment, watch the same TV programs, and eat the same foods as always.

So, why change?

Why should you come out of your comfort zone and stretch a little? Because it is good for you and for those around you. And it helps you think more creatively.

If you were to start exercising after a long sabbatical you are likely to experience aches and pains at first. Before long though, after a regular regimen of healthy movement, your threshold becomes greater and your body becomes fit and healthy.

The same can be said when you stretch out of your daily mundane habits. You become capable of more creative ideas, and your confidence and courage grow. You might find yourself developing goals and dreaming dreams that you never before thought possible. When you begin to let yourself go and think more creatively, the lifestyle you’ve always wanted may suddenly seem within reach.

Now, things won’t always go as planned. No surprise there. But face it; we’re adults. You can handle a setback and still get on your feet again, wiser and more creative.

So, how can you turn your life into a daring creative adventure?

First, leave the Indian Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean stuff to the moviemakers—unless that’s your idea of fun, then off you go!

But for now, let’s concentrate daily life. Here are some suggestions:

  1. If you can, leave the car at home and walk to where you want to go or ride a bicycle.
  2. How about trying a new meal every time you go to a restaurant?
  3. Say hello to that new person at work.
  4. Start a conversation instead of waiting to join in. Think of a list of topics you could use to start that conversation.
  5. Buy the bright-colored, stand-out-from-the-crowd shirt or scarf, instead of the low-key, blend-in type that says, “Don’t notice me”.
  6. Get up twenty minutes early and read a book, get some writing in, or write in your journal.
  7. Go see a movie you wouldn’t ordinarily choose.
  8. Get involved in a sport or a new hobby.
  9. Join Toastmasters and learn to speak in public.
  10. Learn to belly dance. (It is the one place in life where it is good to have a belly!)
  11. Do something you fear, especially if others believe in you and are already encouraging you. If they aren’t, do it anyway.
  12. Learn karate or tai chi.
  13. Fly in a small airplane if you never have before. Or sky-dive out of one.
  14. Go to a park and fly a kite.
  15. Paint a picture. Draw badly on purpose.
  16. Travel somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. Make a plan.
  17. Meet one new person a week—that’s fifty-two new connections in a year. You’re bound to become friends with at least a few of them.
  18. Go to church. It might surprise you how interesting it is.

Take a look at your week and decide where you can be more creative and adventurous. Over time, creative adventures will become a way of life. Maybe you’ll even become a creative new you.

Wendy Dewar Hughes is a multi-published author, professional artist, and book designer. She helps right-brain creatives make wishes come true through her coaching intensives and unique programs at Just Imagine School. Subscribe to receive Creative inspirations Daily and get your free copy of Freeing your Creativity E-book at www.wendydewarhughes.com.

 

Find Wendy and her writing in these places:

WendyDewarHughes.com — Amazon.com — Amazon.ca — Goodreads -—Facebook — Twitter

Click the image below to hear even more tips from Wendy in our conversation, posted on YouTube.

Resisting the Lure of a Shiny New Story

Resisting the Lure of a Shiny New Story

Sent by Alexia Adams

I read a tweet a few weeks ago that said,

“Telling a writer you have a story idea for them is like bringing a box of broken toasters to a hoarder’s house – trust me, we’re good.”

This is so true. Once you start to write, you’ll likely find story ideas flood your mind. A phrase, a photo, an overheard snippet of conversation, almost anything can spark our imagination. After all, that’s what make us writers in the first place. But these bright ideas can lead us down a dark path. If not carefully managed, all these wonderful plots can stop us from achieving our overriding goal—finishing a story through to ‘The End’.

I recently wrote a three book series that I self-published. While writing the third book (which I’d intended to be the last), one of the secondary characters whispered that he’d like a story as well. Then one night he showed up — complete with heroine, backstory, and rough plot — into my dreams. Thanks, Eduardo. However, in the meantime, I’d also pitched another series to one of my editors, so felt I had to at least get the first book written in case she wanted to contract it. Then I was asked to write a promo piece incorporating a carnival scene, and that warped into a complete story idea as well. Broken toaster, anyone?

With three full-fledged stories in my brain all fighting to get out, my writing became paralyzed. Every time I sat down to write one book, another gem of dialogue or a little bit of backstory or half-baked scene floated into my brain from one of the other stories. This was always at its worst when stuck on the story I sat down to work on. Then writing anything else seemed easy by comparison. But I knew if I didn’t push past the initial hurdle I’d end up with a plethora of chapter 3s and no ‘The Ends’ to show for it.

So, how do I manage this ADD writing? A damn good notebook, preferably one with dividers so I can have a different section for each story. I carry this notebook with me everywhere. Then when the snippet of dialogue or perfect scene description hits me for any one of the other stories, I can quickly jot it down and then still concentrate on my main story. (Okay, confession, I have an equal number of notes written on the back of grocery store receipts but the idea of being organized is there.)

I also find setting deadlines helpful for me. I will finish story #1 by this date, then let it sit while I work on story #2. Of course in the meantime, stories 456 through 832 have also assaulted my brain. I write the salient bits of these ideas down in my trusty treasure chest notebook for that day when the inspiration dries up. I’ve been writing seven years now and it still hasn’t happened. But unless the book is on the schedule it has to wait it’s turn. I find this also allows the strongest ideas to linger and the ‘hey, this might work’ ones to dissipate before I waste too much time on them.

However, if you see Eduardo’s story, ‘Vintage Love’ book 4, up on Amazon in the next six months, then know that he’s had his wicked way with me and bumped himself up on the schedule. After all, some heroes are more persuasive than others.

Wishing you many ‘The Ends’,
Alexia

When not breaking up fights among her four children or dreaming of a world without housework, Alexia Adams writes contemporary romance stories that reflect her love of exotic destinations and diverse characters and cultures.

Find Alexia and her writing in these places:

AlexiaAdams.comAmazon.comAmazon.ca — GoodreadsFacebookTwitter

Finding your lost Picasso

Finding your lost Picasso

Sent by Kim Klein

There will always be people who think that to be a genuine artist you need to have an MFA, or to be an actor or a musician of substance, you need to have attended Juilliard, or that to write, you must be an English major and frequent small, dark pubs. There are wine snobs, literary snobs, art snobs, and, let’s face it, just plain snobs.

But, the truth is we are all born creative beings; it is not just a luxury given to a chosen few.

As children, we sing, paint, write poetry, make sculptures, sand castles, mud pies, and culinary treats from our Easy Bake ovens and we believe, without a doubt, that every one of these brilliant creations is worthy of gifting and display.

Then, somewhere along the line something happens; we become the recipient of someone’s criticism. Self-doubt sets in. We then continue on to become our own worst critic.  We start to sing a little less loudly in the school choir, stop wearing our funky striped socks because no one else is wearing them, and quit the pottery class because our stuff just “isn’t good enough.” Our creative side slowly recedes for fear of ridicule, failure or disappointment.

When I was completing my Feng Shui training, we had to do a final thesis. I chose to do something about the importance of infusing our own chi (energy) into the art and items that surround us. I decided to make one piece of art per life area, using the colors, elements and energy that seemed applicable. But, since I couldn’t really paint, I thought I would try both collage and assemblage, using pieces of fabric, CDs, fake gemstones, chopsticks, metal objects — anything that was different and that seemed to work aesthetically. People loved my creations and I was able to place them in sushi restaurants, hair salons, yoga studios and coffee houses. To my surprise I even sold several pieces!

I found that part of what attracted people to my work was that it was imperfect and in that sense, it mirrored life itself.

I have always been a writer. I started as a young teen, writing lyrics to sing along with the three chords I knew on my Yamaha guitar. I then graduated to poetry and writing creative short stories. I wrote for myself. From my heart. It was cathartic, cleansing, and I wrote as if I was talking to my best friend.

I’ve gone on to write and publish a few more books and many articles and I always write exactly the way I talk. I worried that it might not be good enough, not enough fancy words, and then I thought of Hemmingway, who wrote simply and at about a 4th grade level. I even found spelling errors in some of my favorite novels, and I realized, this happens to everyone!

The best of the best still miss a word here or there. There was no perfect. And it doesn’t matter! Telling your story or creating your art is what matters.

Coming from the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi, where beauty is found in all things impermanent and imperfect, we can learn to embrace and accept that “perfect” is what we already are.  With that acceptance, there is no chance of failing. We can sing a little off key, and it is okay.  We can set the table with mismatched dinnerware, and it is acceptable. We can live with our own changing bodies, faces and attitudes, and find beauty in all the different ages and stages.

When we look at life through Wabi Sabi colored glasses, everything becomes a work of art. Even us.

It was funny because using the Wabi Sabi protective shield gave my artwork a new validity when I claimed that I knew full well that my pieces were sometimes a bit off-center or that the cuts in the fabric had frayed ends, or that pieces that I placed on my canvases had a bit of rust, a scratch or even a hole in them. And it was completely accepted as Wabi Sabi beautiful.

Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder and we all get to choose how we view things. Drippings of glaze on a piece of pottery, the unpainted edges of a painting, the irregular curves of a ceramic bowl, a story that scares the wits out of you or one that makes you jump for joy – all of these things have an authenticity and life to them, what we call Wabi Sabi. We can rest knowing that the fallen soufflé we lovingly baked will still taste no less than absolutely delicious. Perfectionism can be boring and so overrated!

If you are having trouble letting go of fast and hard expectations and the judgments of others, I urge you to explore the philosophy of Wabi Sabi. Adopting this philosophy as my own, I know that I don’t have to have any degrees, formal training, or acceptance from the outside world to create, to live fully and to follow my passion. And guess what? Neither do you.

For me, writing is my favorite form of creative expression. It is my art, my mirror, my very own therapist, and sometimes a source of entertainment for others. I first started writing at the age of 13. I wrote lyrics to put to music to the three chords I had mastered on my newly acquired second hand Yamaha guitar. I attempted to be the next Joni Mitchell, but quickly realized I wasn’t the best singer, or musician.

It took me a little longer to realize that it was actually the writing, the words, that I loved so much, more so than the singing and guitar playing. Poetry became my next outlet. I went on to study creative writing and started winning a few awards. I was always writing something, articles for the newspaper, columns for local area magazines, and then came the love of blogging.

Find Kim and her writing in these places:

KimKleinHealthCoach.com — Amazon.comAmazon.ca — Google+ — Goodreads — Facebook — TwitterPinterest

Want more from Kim Klein? (I know I do!) Check out our conversation called, Overcoming the Need to be Perfect, over in the Expert Q+A area.

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