I just realized something: This might be a good time to talk about story endings! Or rather, MY story endings! Sorry, Animal Farm.
But George Orwell knows I’ve been disappointed by endings before. I wanted to make an ending that’s engaging. But how? I was concerned about this when I wrote the ending for the first book. I mean, the climax is done; the best part is over, right? What’s left to do? Have everyone talk about what they’ve learned? End with a line of pure and utter wisdom?
Yeah, some of that happened. But that doesn’t mean I have to leave all the conflict out. Why not make the aftermath a struggle? So that’s what I did: I had Mean and Dark struggle with the idea of his hidden identity. It was intense; I think they even spilled a soda.
I thought the scene worked so well I actually planned for it this time. Amazing stuff, this “experience.” Now THIS ending has struggles everywhere: King blames Mean for what happened to Parlay; Tome is suspicious about Dark; Darrow has a bit of a rivalry with Tenny.
But every conflict is quickly resolved or smoothed over with humor. I can’t leave the reader with an ominous feeling.
I’m just going to outright say that I’m pleased with how Trisk’s conversation with Tenny turned out in this draft. It’s a romantic scene. And if I’m an authority on anything–it would be on romances that are troubled, awkward, unrealistic, or flat-out doomed.
You see, although I am single I have experienced the quiet talks in the dark that frequently occur before a relationship begins. It’s one of the most memorable times, I think. And no matter how things end up with the other person, it is something I never forget.
Because it can be the start of something dream-like and wonderful. It can also be the death of your lofty expectations.
Chapters like this remind me why I like writing so much. Here, I was faced with another situation with the character Templetine. I couldn’t think up anything to define his character in the first draft, so I just used my “B.S. Method” to move the story along. “No problem” I say to myself. “I have months before I need to think of anything.”
But guess what? Those months went by. I got all the way around to this chapter again and I hadn’t thought of anything new. THEN! A few weeks ago an idea hit me. Something that worked and expanded upon the factors that were already in place. I was on my way to the shower or something and I just continued to pace there, pondering that wonderful, amazing idea that had escaped me until that very moment.
THOSE are the moments I live for. Those moments when I realize that the crappy parts of my story CAN be fixed, and that something better will rise up from it.
I probably should have saved that speech for the next blog entry where I actually show you the idea, huh?
Oh baby! This chapter has the new addition to the story that I’ve been waiting to add! And here it sits as an unrefined lump at the start of the draft! It’s really terrible! But I’m not worried; I have plenty of refined goodness going on after that.
Mean’s tournament match has been moved into this chapter, and I’ve gotten it to merge quite well with the original material. SUPER well. Only a couple more chapters and I’ll be past the chain-reaction of doom that I started by screwing with the match order. See, Kim? Changing the plot around after you’ve written a draft isn’t so bad. And the next time your story isn’t working, you can just gaze at this inspirational picture of me:
I’ll be frank: the match that occurs in this chapter is going to be moved to a later one. In its place I’ll swap in a match from chapter 11. I don’t see any immediate problems arising from this change so I should be safe.
Once again, I’m not just switching these events around for fun: I believe that doing so will strengthen the story. It will also help the pacing of the chapters feel more natural. You’ll see what I mean in the notes. Continue reading →
A few of my friends might be wondering why I had my characters visit a bar. After all, I hate spending time in those smoke-filled cesspits. But the bar in my story is based off a particular bar that fascinated me: the bar at a place called “Noah’s Ark.”
It was an ship-shaped building in St. Charles Missouri, and oh look–I found a picture on Google. That saves some time.
The restaurant on the first floor was interesting enough: there were stuffed animals behind glass cases and little giraffe-shaped stirring rods that they’d put in your drinks. But the bar on the second floor was what mystified me as a child.
Of course I was too young to be there when it was open. The only time I could see it was during the day while I waited to be seated with my parents at a table on the first floor. The bar area was vacant during the day, but for some reason I could just walk right up there. I could look at all the empty tables with the seats stacked on them, the long bar with the rows of glasses hanging above. And video games! They had Pac-man! Crystal Castles! Arkanoid! And no one playing them.
“Why would this great place be empty?” I would think to myself. It was a mystery, and I’d wonder what it was like when the adults were allowed in.
I would never see it occupied, though; the business was closed before I turned 21. The building was left unoccupied for years. It was torn down completely in 2007. The only pictures I can find now are from its ruined state:
So there you go. Mean and Dark’s visit to the empty bar in the present is a result of this memory. And their visit to the past is just the sort of thing that I wish I could do. Continue reading →
Vornis and Trisk have both won their matches! How stunning! I thought for sure that the newly-introduced secondary characters would beat them!
But now I must take a break from sword fights and face-kicking nakedness. It is time for the characters to reflect upon what they’ve seen, and to seriously discuss the ramifications of time travel. Or maybe they don’t do that. Can’t really remember everything that happens in this one, to be honest. First drafts are fun. Continue reading →