What’s the Ending?

For the last month of the year, my theme is the most difficult part of writing a story–the ending. I think endings are much tougher than beginnings. A writer can a begin a story any number of ways. But for a reader to close the book satisfied, the ending has to tie all the threads of the plot and character development into a convincing, plausible climax and denouement that both surprises the reader but also makes her nod in agreement.

Coming up with an ending before a beginning doesn’t seem outlandish to me. Knowing my ending gives my writing focus, a goal. I know where I need to end up. The question for me is how to get there.

So what’s the ending this picture can inspire? Have the two characters successfully solved a mystery? Pulled off the perfect crime? Is it some kind of reconciliation or reunion? Maybe it’s a tragic ending. Maybe on character is toasting the other and hiding his loathing for him.

I see the toast as an echo of the beginning. This was something the two characters did regularly. Then they were hit with adversity, either external–some problem kept them apart–or internal–one could’ve grown jealous or suspicious of the other. At the end, they have overcome the adversity and can engage in their old ritual as a sign of healing.

What’s the ending that this photo suggests to you?

How Was Your NaNoWriMo?

Whew! It’s the last day of November. How was your NaNoWriMo? I hadn’t planned on doing it the traditional way, but I had planned on finishing my WIP novel. A Shadow on the Snow. Then my youngest got strep, and when we thought he was on the mend, he broke out in a terrible rash of hives that took almost a week to improve. Despite that, I was able to attend the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. I skipped some sessions so I could write uninterrupted. I now have a goal to finish my novel by Dec. 7, in time for a FB book party where I’ll discuss writing “A Rose from the Ashes”. I want to announce that I’ve finished the sequel.

If you participated in NaNoWriMo, tell me how it went. Or if you didn’t, what’s the state of your writing today? If you’re a reader, tell me what you read through November. I’d love to know!

Prompts for NaNoWriMo

We’re over half way through November. How is your NaNoWriMo going? Having any trouble with settings? As I write my YA mystery, I seem to have a lot of scenes of people discussing the case while eating. I need to change some of those scenes to give my writing more variety.

If you notice that you are using the same kind of setting over and over, see if these photos can act as prompts for your NaNoWriMo challenge.

I know I said my characters are eating too much, but in case your characters aren’t eating enough, here’s a kitchen to inspire you and allow your characters to get some nourishment.

Prompts for NaNoWriMo

These prompts for NaNoWriMo will spark your inspiration if you are stuck developing plot points.

Let the setting suggest plots twists.

My stories are set in rural Ohio where cell reception can run from good to nonexistent. That fact can lead to all sorts of trouble for my characters.

Let characters’ personalities suggest plot twists.

Do you have a character who doesn’t bother to filter her comments? Let that habit kick off a plot twist. An introverted character who keeps a secret could serve a similar purpose.

Fight stereotypes

If you have a cheerleader, make her a nice one. How would that change your plot? Turn your main character’s best friend–the quirky one with all the best lines– into an antagonist. Give your teen MC one parent who actually understands him. Fighting stereotypes can freshen your writing and produce great potential plot points.

Have the main character lose something critical or gain something unexpectedly.

I saw the potential for this in my WIP novel, A Shadow on the Snow. My MC collects all the nasty notes an anonymous stalker sends her. When she’s ready to turn them over to the police, the letters are stolen. That theft added so much to the plot.

What other prompts could help twist the plot?

Prompts for NaNoWriMo

I have character prompts for NaNoWriMo today! For me to build a character, I usually have to find a face, a face that intrigues me and suggests a certain kind of personality. I went through Pixabay, looked at portraits, and selected some to share here. If you are stuck for a character during NaNoWriMo, check in here and see if these pictures can inspire you! I’d love to hear what sparks these photos ignite in your imagination.

I used the face of this little girl for a supporting character in my WIP novel, A Shadow on the Snow. Her name is Coral, she’s eleven, and she’s very practical and loves animals.
The expression on the young woman’s face caught my attention and my imagination. She inspired another character, Egypt. She’s hot-tempered and reckless but can be fiercely loyal.

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