Showing posts from September, 2012

How to write the climax to a novel

Two of the most difficult things to get right for a novel are the beginning and the ending. The right beginning is important, which should jump in at a significant moment or start with action, but the ending – something that seems far off when we’re writing the story – is just as important.   An ending has to accomplish several things: it has to complete the story, it must offer resolution, it should tie up all loose ends and, finally, it should provide an ending that is logical and satisfactory. It’s worth noting that not all stories need to end in one explosive, violent event - and there is nothing wrong with that – because many novels don’t.   Some novels – literary ones in particular – have more of a gentle ‘ unveiling ’ at the end, whether that’s the unravelling life-journey of a character, or the answer to a particular plot twist or a simple revelation etc – as long as the story is resolved . And, of course, not all stories have happy endings.   But how do you g

Basic Narrative Structure

Fictional writing doesn’t have hard and fast rules, other than the use of grammar, but it does require an understanding of the fundamental principles of fiction writing.   Writers can choose to follow those principles and become better writers, or they can ignore them at their own peril and languish on the slush pile. Basic narrative structure is one of those principles that writers should follow and it takes part in three defined sections – beginning, middle and the end (resolution).   It’s how these are stitched together to make a story, and the order of the events that happen in the story. The beginning of a novel is the setup, where main characters are introduced and the basic premise of the plot and theme is revealed – the main problem or obstacle(s) that the main character has to overcome.   This where the writer sets the scene and hints at what might come. The middle contains the substance of the story – characters come into conflict, the main character overcomes hi

Creating Character Goals

Every character needs a goal. In real life, we spend our lives striving towards goals – some achievable, some not so, but most of the goals we set ourselves are attainable, whether that’s saving to buy a new car, planning a dream house, getting married, saving for the future, planning a dream holiday or a family...or perhaps learning a new language, or gaining a degree.   They are all goals. Just as in real life, your characters also need affirming goals.   And once they have those goals, it’s then down to how you get your character to reach them that actually makes the narrative captivating. But what exactly are goals? Your character needs objectives in order to proceed to the story’s denouement, the climax, because without these objectives there will be no obstacles, and without obstacles there will be no conflict or tension, and without conflict or tension you don’t really have a story. This is shown in the following simple method: Character Goal/objective → a