clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Beginning of the Endings

 A lovely caboose shot by Sean Lamb at the tail of a Burlington Northern train is a good metaphor for the endings.

I've had some trouble finishing lately and I think it is because I did not have a firm grasp of my endings on these particular works when I was crafting the beginning. One has to know where it is going.

Trains run on tracks. Stories run to endings. At least, my stories run to endings. Not having one is a ... train-wreck.

So, what is the ending ?

I call the ending the climax of the action. I have to have this climax as a destination to get from a clever opening through the rising action to the "event." Short stories in my case all have an "event" - emotional or physical. These are the points where the character must succeed or fail. It is a point of turning.

There is usually a denouement to follow - a falling action after the climax. I try to keep them from being "quippy" so anything that would be uttered by Arnold is right out. The denouement is crafted in accordance with the tone of the rest of the story so I do in fact leave it to the end. I don't think that leaving it is required if you can write to a tone. That is, if you can consistently remain in tone throughout a story so the last paragraphs will fit when you get there, fine.

I need a little more caboose at the start of my latest works to know where to go. Drifting in the stream becomes too much for me to handle.

How about you ? Start at the beginning or cheat, look ahead, and have a destination ?

Maps make things easier and easy means more focus on the craft of language and less on surviving the story's plot.

Clues welcome.

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