Thursday, 27 May 2010
Wrapping them up.
I posted a short story to a competition the other day. It was a last minute decision as the closing date was rapidly approaching. The story, a fable, had sat gathering dust for quite some time. It had promise, I thought, but the ending just didn’t gel. There was something missing, a rounding off to make it feel finished and satisfying.
The change around in my attitude came last weekend when I went to a workshop on editing. It looked at works as a whole and discussed ways in which a writer could assess whether a story was as good as it could be. One of the aspects discussed was endings. There were all sorts ways an ending could be made more satisfying, such as leaving it at just the right point to leave the reader wondering what happened next, or leaving them with a question.
The suggestion that helped me with this particular story however, was the idea of finishing the story with something that links back to the beginning – a phrase or idea that repeats and reminds the reader where it started. There was a special name for it, but being me, I forgot to write it down. I was too busy getting excited about my story. Suddenly, I knew how to end it, to close the lid and tie a ribbon around it. I love those “Ah –ha” moments. Once I’d done that, I felt much happier about sending it out.
Now I’m trying to forget about it and get on with more writing. That's the hardest part of writing. Sending your children out and pretending you're not thinking about them.