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.
DVD commentaries can be great for learning story-telling techniques. For instance, the other day I was watching the episode of Aeon Flux titled “The Purge.” On the commentary, Peter Chung was talking about how the character Trevor needed to have an incredibly philosophical conversation about the nature of conscience.
Mr. Chung realized that an abstract conversation would feel out of place if it just happened at a normal locale. So what did he do? He decided to have the entire scene play out on a stage with a studio audience!
Shoot–look at that! Now it makes perfect sense for Trevor to make numerous, long-winded remarks: he’s on TV! Even Aeon’s scant attire becomes appropriate!
Like Chung, I have used a similar method in this chapter–heck, I’ve used it in the whole book up until now. When Pinada talks about his plan and what he’s accomplished he does it in front of an audience. It seems natural to the reader that Pinada would speak as long as he had the crowd’s attention.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a cactus-flavored bunny drink and start reading! Everything that happens here is perfectly normal!
My site had a malware warning on it the past week. And do you know why? The WordPress theme I was using was being targeted by hackers! Can you believe that? They must have been using “Weaver II” as a stepping stone to infect my Abandonment Party novels!
Well listen up, you hackers! My work WILL be completed! The world NEEDS a story about a giant clay woman that transforms chairs into knives and by gum–I’m going to give it to them!
(Thanks go to my friend Matt for helping me fix my site. And to Kim: try harder next time, I guess!) Continue reading →
In this chapter Dark is set to face off against his friend Mean in the last semi-final match of the “Two Lives to Play” tournament. As I stated before, something bizarre happened as I wrote the first draft on this scene.
You see, in my head I had it all planned: Just before the match Mean would find out that Gamemaster Kello had seen Dark’s face. It would be a tournament rule; to prove his armor wasn’t remote controlled or something. This would make Mean FURIOUS that Dark revealed his identity a stranger, since he’s refused to show his face to his friends–and even to her.
And I thought that would be an awesome conflict. Dark would step in the ring, clueless, and then Mean would just be standing there, silently RAGING. Then boom! The match would start and Mean would just knock Dark to the ground. She’d tear the ring apart with her magical fury, pinning him down with the rubble. Ooooh-it was going to be dramatic! She’d be crushing him and he’d be saying other dramatic things to get her to stop. What an amazing spectacle it would be!
But the unthinkable occurred: What I wanted to happen didn’t happen! Instead, I wrote a friendly match full of sportsmanship and fun. It’s as if the characters themselves subverted my will; acting on their own to shape the story. A hateful battle would go against the friendship I had built, so it just didn’t take place.
I think that forcing a confrontation wouldn’t have worked for the plot anyway. So thanks, imaginary characters! I’ll let you off easy–this time.
Well shoot. Besides reworking the end with Zenny I only had minor adjustments to this chapter. And yeah–I decided to cut her in-person appearance out for now. Matt begged me not to, but I know that sacrifices must be made. Don’t worry, man; if we ever get stranded in the tundra somewhere, you can count on me to decide who gets cannibalized first.
And besides, this omission will no doubt make the next chapter that much more hilarious. You’ll see! Continue reading →
I forgot almost everything that occurred in this chapter. Well, not the plot; I remembered the events. The dialog is what slipped my mind. And it wasn’t even bad dialog! I think it’s great! So what happened? Sure, I usually forget details in other books and shows–but I was the one that created this, so shouldn’t I remember it all?
Hm. I suppose that could be good in a way. I was worried that I would be bored reading my own books since I assumed I would never be surprised by anything. But guess what? I was! Read the notes at the end if you want; I wrote them in real time as I re-read the first draft.
Except the comment about the guns. That amazing joke took me a day to think up. Continue reading →
A rousing holiday! A death in the family. Cousins, long-lost! Does any of that happen in this chapter? Of course it doesn’t. This stuff happened to me last week.
The death was my grandpa, Albert Smith. I won’t talk about it much here, but there’s something that I notice people thinking at funerals: “I wish I had more time to spend with him before he died.” I think it’s a natural thought. I don’t think it’s thought to dwell on, however. After all, when you love someone do you ever really stop to say “I’ve spent enough time with this person! They can die now.”
I know I don’t think that. Even if you sit down with the soon-to-be deceased and discussed everything on your mind you’d still be craving more when they’re gone. Now, does this have anything to do with my chapter, here? Hm, maybe it does. Then again, it could just be about two women smacking each other around and sitting in chairs. Continue reading →
Kim, guess what!? Something in this chapter–taken from the first draft I wrote a year ago–JUST sort-of happened in the recent episode of Doctor Who. Kind of like how you saw one of your story ideas used in Lord of the Rings. But don’t worry; I have some fantastic advice for you to use when that sort of thing happens. So DON’T erase your entire trilogy in a disappointed rage. I hope I caught you in time.
Alright, back to chapter ten. I decided to replace all the discussions with thrilling battles! What a shock. I took Jelk’s match from the first draft of chapter 9, along with Dark’s match from the first draft of chapter 11. I will find time for the characters to sit down and talk soon, I swear. Continue reading →
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 →