Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Crafting the Conclusion

The end is in sight, though elusive. I'm eager to begin revisions on my middle-grade historical fantasy, but I still have two chapters to go: the climax and the conclusion.
     The temptation is to slap something down, knowing that it will change in the course of general revisions, thus following the advice of the writer who said, "Get it down. Then get it right."
     I belong to a wonderful historical critique group through ACFW Scribes, and I feel a self-inflicted guilt if I don't keep my chapter submissions flowing at a quasi-regular pace. However, my seven-month stint back in the English classroom prohibited any kind of a regular writing schedule. Anyone who has taught understands the teacher's work day doesn't end with the final bell.
     In his book Plot and Structure, James Scott Bell acknowledges that writers, especially professional writers working on deadline, are prone to this approach. Bell advises writers to take time to craft the ending well.
     "A weak ending can ruin an otherwise wonderful book," Bell writes (p. 99). "A strong ending can redeem an otherwise mediocre book. So take your endings seriously." Reading that, I felt vindicated for taking my time with these final chapters, even in this, the first draft.

Bell, James Scott: Plot and Structure, Writer's Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio; 2004

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