Friday, April 1, 2011

How I Found My Ending from a Stumbling Block

This is late, but I hope it's okay to post it anyway! I don't want to get a wet noodle for this:) (It's a private joke)

My young adult novel was going along smoothly with my writing about a chapter every time I sat down to write. I knew it wouldn't be done fast, since I was working and had only a small amount of time each day to write. The words flowed from my fingers effortlessly and soon I had half the book done. Then it happened. The words no longer came. I was stuck, because I realized in panic that I didn't have an ending. I didn't know where my story was going and it froze me. I put the story aside and decided I'd let it sit awhile. Maybe if it sat awhile I would find the ending.

This didn't work, so one night after a frustrating time of staring at my computer, I decided to copy a story to the computer I had done earlier on paper. When it was put on the computer screen and I tweaked it a little bit, I realized it was good. When I saw an offer from a website for children's stories I sent it to them. To my surprise they accepted it and I had my first published story. Also, I wrote an adult story which was published too. Yet I still didn't have an ending for my novel. So when I saw the ad for Children's Writers Boot Camp I grabbed the chance to learn more about my craft. At the time I thought maybe I'd get an idea that would help me from the information I got there.

Well, Children's Writers Boot Camp really lived up to its name. We spent two days morning to evening learning about writing and writing on our own. The first day we spent with lectures and the second day we put our knowledge to work. After learning more about character development I decided to work on my secondary character's plot line. We had learned about plot lines too. So when I actually plotted out my secondary character's story I saw my ending. When I concentrated on my secondary character her story popped out and continued to a natural ending. As I saw how the main character and secondary character's stories intertwined my ending appeared and when I left the Boot Camp I knew exactly how my story would end.

The next day I took out my WIP and wrote and wrote and wrote. By the end of the week the book was finished!!! I know if I hadn't gotten some help I would never have been able to finish the book. Now, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, is complete and will be ready to be published in September. It was knowing my secondary character's, Jennifer Taylor's, story that allowed me to see my ending. You never know where help will be, but take it from me, if it's there use it.:)


Chrystalla Thoma said...

This is an excellent post! Thank you. I am going now to check on my secondary characters, and see if there is an ending for my stories in sight. :-)

Wendy said...

It's funny you should mention secondary characters having such an impact on your story. Even though my main character appears in all but 3 scenes, my husband insists that his companion in the 14th century is really the main character. I guess he is the medieval pivot but it's odd a secondary character could have more impact on one reader than the hero. I hope that's not a bad thing.

I'm glad you found that Boot Camp. There is not much worse for a writer than to be stuck without an ending.

Pat McDermott said...

The Sidekick Solution. How great! Congrats on resolving the ending dilemma and finishing your story!

Barbara Ehrentreu said...

Thanks everyone and glad Chrystalla you found something to help you in my post. When I was in my first critique group a member of our group who had just gotten her first publishing contract told us what her editor said. She said the editor wanted her to flesh out her secondary characters more. At the time I couldn't figure out why, but now I know. It's like when you get your hair done. If you get highlights those are good, but they need the low lights to set them off. I think the same is true with characters. If your secondary character doesn't have any depth you might not feel the main character has any either. I know that in my story many people are going to identify with the secondary character, but in the end they are going to see the beauty of the main character. It's a delicate balance, but you'll know when it's right! I did revise my story umpteen times!!Part of it was getting the characters right. Good luck.