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Friday, July 27, 2012

Wrapping it up

It's also known as the falling action. This is the part after the big climax, when things begin to settle down. The  fallout is dealt with. Lingering loose ends are tied up -- or not. This part of the story can be very short, or it can run for some thousands of words, depending on how much you need to clean up, what your readers expect you to address in wrapping up the story, and whether you're laying groundwork for further novels.

Major life changes
Death, marriage, a serious psychological upheaval... readers want to know the characters are going to be okay. That they've adjusted to the new situation, or are making progress toward that.

Back to normal
If your story was about fixing something and getting back to normal, show us that it worked. A little zinger can be fun, though, if things aren't quite they way they used to be.

Ask: what next?
If your characters are riding off into the sunset for further adventures (whether you're going to write them or not) then do give us that riding-into-the-sunset shot. In some ways, this is very similar to the "Back to normal" situation, especially if your characters are career adventurers -- heading off is normal, for them. If you've got a follow-up novel in mind, you can throw a few hints in here.

Don't let this slide
Getting to the end of a novel is exhausting. But bear in mind that this the last of your writing the reader will see until your next book. You don't want to leave them frustrated -- though curious is good, maybe a hint of "hmm, that could be a problem in the future," and warm fuzzy feelings are popular too.

Getting to the end of this series of posts was exhausting too. See you for the contest in August!


Vicki Orians said...

Wrapping up a book is hard. You want to make readers anticipate the next book, but you don't want to leave the book in a place that makes readers angry or depressed. It's hard to walk the fine line!

mshatch said...

I think it's important to wrap things up but in a way that is satisfying rather than 'by the book,' ie, you have all your plot points and you wrap each one up nice and neat like a bow. Because life isn't like that - except in fairy tales. I rather like it when a story leaves me with a few questions, not big questions, because that would be frustrating, but a few small ones. Of course, it also depends on the genre. But that's a whole other post!