July 7th, 2015

Fireworks Delight

Writing Excuses 10.27: Why Can't I Just Jump to the Ending?

Writing Excuses 10.27: Why Can't I Just Jump to the Ending?

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2015/07/05/writing-excuses-10-27-why-cant-i-just-jump-to-the-ending/

Key points: Between the excitement of starting a new book and the cool ending where lots happens, lies the desert of the middle. Why? Chekhov's gun! You have to hang things on the walls and reveal stuff before the end. You need to develop relationships, and set up the ending. The middle is hard because it's where you earn the ending. TRY-FAIL cycles galore! To earn the stand-up-and-cheer moment at the end. The beginning and end are a frame, while the middle is where the meat, the real conflict happens. The struggle. The end of the middle is the do-or-die time. The middle is failures, and successes that are still failures -- no-and or yes-but! The events must be conflicts, they must have consequences, push the story forward, escalate! How to have fun writing the middle? Plan on it! Make sure the reader, and the writer, are having fun in the middle! Try-fail has to be enjoyable, even if it does have consequences. Fun, and a plot with progress. Setbacks, pain, consequences make the stand-up-and-cheer moment work. Many writers don't think of the middle as try-fail cycles, mystery writers think of it as finding clues -- but really, it's about thinking you've solved it, but you haven't (a failure!). Red herrings, dead ends, all failures! Heist plots seem to build on success after success, building to the big finale. It's all about delayed satisfaction -- the treat at the end, and the steps to get there. But don't just delay, tease the upcoming big success, show that it is just out of reach. Smell the dessert even in the middle. Even a nine-year-old knows the form, but the ride is enjoyable despite the artifice. So buckle your seatbelts and hang on!
Collapse )
[Brandon] Yeah. You need to make that ride enjoyable. In fact, our writing exercise this week is one that I often use when I'm in the middle. As I said, the middle is very often hard for me. It sometimes because I'm getting a little bored with my setting. Or I'm getting a little bored with the viewpoints I've used. I just need to shake it up a little bit for me in order to reignite that excitement. So what I do is, I look at a scene I'm planning to write coming up and I say, "Can I put this in a different location? Something new?" Something I've introduced. It's not like I'm moving to a new city, but the... One I often use, I'm like, "We've had a lot of scenes in this room, let's go into the garden." Now Mary, when I was talking about this, pointed out in a short fiction, particularly the shorter you get, the fewer scenes you want to use. So the choice for short fiction may be to take it back to a location you've already used so that you can explore that one a little bit more, so you can keep it fresh. But look to something you're going to write, and change up the setting from what you were planning to do. Just see if it makes it a little more exciting for you.
[Mary] I'm going to just say that sometimes changing the setting actually means just changing the time of day.
[Brandon] Yeah, changing the time of day. Or we've always been sitting in this room. Now are going to be sitting in this room while dinner is being made and brought in. There's a new set of scents, and it changes your view on this room that was, in past, a stuffy conference room. Now they're using it for dinner and setting out all of these trays.
[Howard] And I can smell dessert.
[Brandon] You can smell dessert, and suddenly you've refreshed the entire thing by changing something small. That's your writing exercise. You are out of excuses. Now go write.
  • Current Mood
    wizard