Saturday, January 19, 2013

Novel Craft: End Games

Hi folks, I'm continuing my series of Novel Craft. This series is to help writers that have a solid draft and want to bring their work up another level. This week I'm going to write about the "End Games."

Today I'm going to offer three games I play to make my ending stronger, to make it more memorable, to make it more influential. This is going to be short to write. It will take you a while to do...

Okay, this is first game. Take your novel, your beloved perfect novel, and write a new end for it. I go to the last chapters and write in black marker: MAKE THEM SUFFER.  (Thanks to Gail Carson Levine for this enduring advice.) I go over every scene and I ask myself, "Am I avoiding agony?" I take every risk that I can think of when I play this game. I write the whole thing with again upped stakes. I don't keep all of it, but I do end up keeping some of it.  You will get very good at this game.

The next game is Reinvention. I write the end from a different point of view. Yes, go to the last three chapters and switch narrative mode.  If your are in third person, go at the whole chapter from first. Try it from the antagonist's point of view. Try it from the best friend's point of view.  Try stream of conciousness. You will find surprises. I guarantee it.

Now the final game, is called "What came after". I don't know why, but I try to tie things up too early.  This game is about writing what happens a week after your story ends, then jumping ahead a year, and finally jumping ahead a decade and writing what happens. Did your characters stay hooked up? Bummer, I thought this was everlasting love. Did your character end up being more awesome than you thought? That's a good thing.

I hope one of my "End Games" helps you create a stronger book. Be brave and inventive. Don't hold back!  See you next with more Novel Craft.

This week's doodle: Sock Monster.



A quote for your pocket:

I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end. Abraham Lincoln

9 comments:

Candilynn Fite said...

In both the novels I've first drafted, my instinct was, okay, I've gotten them safely back home. Now, tuck them in bed, switch off the lights and write, The End. I believe I rushed both endings. Boring. Your post has given me food for thought and hopefully when I go back through them, I'll use one or two of your games and rework the endings. Thanks, Molly!

MollyMom103 said...

Oh, good! I'm glad to have tossed you some helpful thoughts...M.

Mirka Breen said...

"Make them suffer"-
Yes, got to shed the mother/teacher-
Throw the kids into the fire.

Trudi Trueit said...

Good idea, writing the end from different points of view! Just thinking of the possibilities for my current WIP gave me an epiphany. Thanks, oh wise, one!

MollyMom103 said...

Hi, Mirka, I think it really helps you get to the heart of what your characters can endure and they may surprise you.

Hi Trudi, Glad to spark an epiphany! I find that narrative shifting always helps me work out scenes.

Vijaya said...

I think you must be residing in my brain. I did exactly that as I wrote the ending to my historical -- a week later, a year later. Whoa! There's going to be a sequel.

MollyMom103 said...

I love to hear we are always on the same page, Vijaya!

Anna Staniszewski said...

I really like these ideas! Ha yes, making your characters suffer MORE is a good reminder. I must admit that I actually kind of enjoy making them suffer. :-)

MollyMom103 said...

Hi, Anna, thanks for dropping by. I don't think I consciously avoid making my characters suffer, but I find I do it. I think my subconscious is messing with me.