I wrote my first four novels without any outside input up to the point when I sent the second draft to a small group of pre-readers, made more changes and then on to my editor. Then I moved home from London to the English south coast and started work on novel number five, which became…
Since I was a child, I’ve dreamed of becoming the next great American novelist. I have published a few novels, and yet none of them are quite as dear to my heart as my two memoirs. I realized something critical about myself the more I’ve devoted myself to nonfiction writing (mostly about the intersection of faith and politics): I’m not very good at making things up.
If there’s anything I’ve learned during my time as a graduate student of creative nonfiction, it’s that memoir writing, and even literary essays, can follow a story arc similar to what you’ll find in fiction: there is a beginning, a development of conflict, a set of characters (even if the only character is the writer herself), a middle, and a resolution. Like fiction, nonfiction doesn’t require a neat, tidy ending. But a decisive finishing point is required just the same.
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When it comes down to it there is really only one rule about writing a good ending for a story: the ending you write has to fulfill the promises you made during your story.
The much tougher part can be coming up with an ending that succeeds in doing that. I think as authors we all want that amazing ending that not only satisfies the reader but makes them think about what they read and remember it years down the line.
Sadly, I can’t tell you how to write the perfect ending, but I can give you some tips about things that will make the ending of your story work. I will leave the creative and artist decisions that make it truly stand out to you.
1.) Don’t Leave Any Questions Unanswered
Throughout your story, your job as a writer is to raise questions (i.e. conflicts). But by the end…
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Some words have a habit of creeping into your writing, when you aren’t looking, and making it bland.
If you can prune them out, there will be an instant improvement.
Find out some of the main culprits, and what to do about them in this post.
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To pay or not to pay?
Have you ever paid to enter writing competitions; either for short stories, poetry or even submitting a novel? Or perhaps you’d never contemplate having to pay for competitions?
The topic of writing competitions came up at our last meeting of the local writing group and I was surprised at the varying opinions.
A couple of people seemed genuinely surprised that most competitions charged and that these were successful – I then had to admit to entering some myself with one win, a shortlist and a couple of long-list to my name.
At first I was overjoyed to have my work professionally validated and deemed worthy to be read in print and it was the confident booster I so desperately needed. The deadlines, themes etc was a great incentive to sit down and write, producing a story in a day or two – then a…
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