Thursday, 29 December 2016

How to Secretly Work on Your Novel During Your Day Job

For writers, nothing is worse than leaving your laptop to go to your day job—you know, the place where you actually get paid.

But don't let resentment cloud your ambitions. There's a way to keep the creative juices flowing even when away from your computer. Here are a few ways to secretly work on your novel while at your day job.

1. A two hour meeting in the board room?

Excellent! Take a few pens and keep your notepad on your lap, just under the table and out of sight. Throughout the meeting, glance up from your writing and make eye contact with the speaker, nod, and then write for the next five minutes. Keep repeating this process until the meeting is over. At the end of the session everyone else is weary and yawning, but you my friend have a spring in your step because you totally nailed the word count for that chapter.

"And then...and then...and then..."
photo credit,
2. A co-worker talks non-stop?

Embrace her enthusiasm! The office gossip is worth her weight in gold. Listen to REALLY listen. Memorize all her turns of phrase and quirky slang. Notice the gestures she uses when telling something especially juicy compared to how she greets the boss. BAM!! You just met your MC's neighbour/sister-in-law/horrible blind date. This gum snapping, pen clicking, bucket mouth is going to give your book loads of color.

3. An annoying co-worker?

Bonus! Make a list of his most annoying traits. Does he say, “TGIF” EVERY Friday? Does he ALWAYS hit the elevator button even though it's already lit up? Does he call you by a nickname that makes no sense? BINGO! Take this stuff and give it to your antagonist's sidekick.

4. Is your plot stuck at a crossroads, unsure which way to go?

No worries! The answer is close at hand. Go to the guy no one talks to. You know who I mean, the quiet guy who smells like cabbage and still lives with his parents. He's the guy you know has weird stuff hidden under his bed. Seek him out and tell him your characters' problem, but pretend they're real people. Don't even ask for advice, just wait and listen. It's the still waters that run deep. WHAM! He might give you the freaky twist no one saw coming.

5. Are you a stay at home parent?

Lucky dog! Kids are hilarious because their imaginations are untethered by logic. Listen not for the slang, but for the reasoning. Case in point, here's a conversation between my eight year old son and his friend sitting in our backyard as they chewed bubblegum.

“Okay,” my son's friend started. “You're in a boat and you're surrounded by sharks...what do you do?”

Chewing noise then, “Hit it with the oar.”

“There's no oars.”

“Take off the engine and hit it—“

“—there's no engine.”

A bubble pops followed by a long pause. “I'd let him close enough to bite me, then I'd punch him in the eye like a thousand times.”

Me? I would have stayed in the boat. But how boring is that? I never would have made a character dive in and start a fist fight with a shark—I will now though.

See? There's inspiration everywhere, you just have to be open to the opportunities. As one of my co-workers said, “You can never quit working here, the material is endless. There's so much sh** happening each shift, it's like a new chapter every day.

Yup, I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Finding The Joy

I wrestled this out of the archives from a few years ago. It was originally posted on December 15th, 2011. My YA blog ( was brand new then and only eight people read it, but I think the message bears repeating...even after a few years.

This time of year my wallet is full of lists—those crumpled up, half crossed off reminders that I still have things to do.

The best thing about lists is drawing a line through the last item. I feel entitled to celebrate by hanging out at the book store with a gingerbread latte, making fun of the titles by adding “in bed with no clothes on.”

Try it, it's funny. The Clockwork Prince In Bed With No Clothes On. See?

Lately though, when I peek into the vortex of disorganization that is my purse, I continually find unfinished lists, and that means no gingerbread latte for me. I begin to resent all the errands which I now call 'things that get in the way of stuff I really want to do'.

I love the holidays...really I do, but sometimes the work involved in putting the Merry in Christmas leaves me exhausted and more bitter than Scrooge.

Alistair Sim, the best Scrooge!

With baking, mailing packages, and making sure everyone knows their line (yes singular) for the Christmas play, I roam the Shopping Malls—otherwise known as the black hole of commercialism—and my holiday mojo gets sucked away.
I drag my parcels through the parking lot, getting my coat dirty from brushing up against the salt encrusted cars. Bah humbug is right, life would be so much more enjoyable without all the fuss.

Then, on Sunday, I listened while someone talked about feeling the joy.

Feeling the joy?

How can I feel the joy when I have all of these things to do? If I don't wrap the presents and make the cookies, who will? Like most profound moments of epiphany, their answer was simple—you feel the joy in everything you do.

One of the coolest chicks out there, Gwen Stefani, said it best, “What You Waiting For?

And truly, why delay the happiness? I realized I have a choice. Instead of begrudging the baking and shopping, I can be thankful that I'm able to buy my groceries instead of having to depend on the food bank to feed my family. And that baking with my kids is a chance to make a memory, not another chore to be completed.

There is a tangible sense of freedom when you exercise the choice to be happy. Click here to tweet this!

I'm putting off dusting/vacuuming to read Christmas books with my kids. Instead of madly decorating to make everything perfect for a family party, I'm laying out all my ornaments for my beautiful nieces to have a go at the tree.

Today, I suggest you make the choice and feel the joy. Don't wait until everything is crossed off, because guess what—there's always something you forgot. So sit back, get a gingerbread latte, and read How the Grinch Stole Christmas In Bed With No Clothes On.

Cheers! *holds up latte*

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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Novel Spotlight: The Pink Tourmaline

The Pink Tourmaline by Sandy Windham

Only in the past can she find the love of a lifetime.

A spell cast by her great-grandmother transports Quinn and her brother Michael to 1926. Stranded in an unfamiliar world, they only have one chance to get home—track down their great-grandmother and reverse the spell. Easy enough, except nothing in their family history lines up with reality. Things only get more complicated when they meet silent film actor Rafael Santino. Charming and with an interest in the supernatural, he offers his help.

When Quinn and Rafael fall in love, her relationship with her brother crumbles. She wants to stay, while Michael is desperate to leave. Splitting up is not an option. The spell has bound them together. Either both return or neither can.

Once Quinn finds a way home she must decide: Strand Michael in the past for the sake of her happiness, or leave the life she always wanted, so he can have his.

About the Author

Sandy Windham

I was born in Heidelberg, Germany , back when Germany still had the Deutsche Mark ( that’s not actually all that long ago!!!) I left Germany after high school and spent a few years bouncing around the world. After living in Israel, South Africa, and England I arrived in Key West, Florida, a few years back. It was supposed to only be a short-term stay, but then I met my husband and you know how it goes….. Recently, we relocated to Sarasota, Florida.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

30 Questions for Your Novel

Congratulations to all the NaNoWriMo winners!

You wrote a book! Awesome, good on ya'.

Now that the celebration has cooled off it's time for REVISIONS!

Hey, don't give me that face, you know I'm right.

Before you launch your best seller at friends/family/beta readers for glorious feedback, give it this test to see if it's ready.

This is a handy little tool I first saw on Pinterest a few years ago for outlining—I've modified the questions a bit to match my revision style. It helps me get to the meat of the story and showcases the stuff I need to polish, and the stuff I need to weed out completely. Plus, it keeps me motivated and saves loads of time because I lose focus easily...oh! Something shiny!

30 Questions for Your Novel

1: What does your character want?

What do they want most?
A heart, a way home, a brain, courage.

2: Why can't they have it?

3: Can you suck other characters into the main character’s problems, thereby broadening the conflict?
4: What is the hook for the readers on page one?

5: What is keeping your character from getting what she wants?

6: What character flaws are stopping your main character from getting what she wants?

7: Who is your main character's greatest ally?

8: Who is her enemy?

9: What external forces are stopping your main character from getting what she wants?

10: How does the main character try to fix her problems? What is the consequence? 

11: How does she try to fix it the next time?

12: What is the mood of your story? Keep it consistent.

13: Is your setting recognizable? Make it unique to the story, as seen through your MC's eyes.

14: Do you have ongoing mysteries/questions that will keep your reader guessing?

15: What are the surprises and twists in your story?

16: Is the subplot developing at the same rate as the main plot?

17: Do each of your characters have a role to play? Are they unique? What if they weren't in the story?

18: What makes each character special/significant to your main character?

19: What are your characters’ secrets?

20: Have you created a sympathetic main character? How?

21: Is your story building up to something big? Can you make it bigger? 

22: Who/what is your antagonist?

23: How do they challenge your main character?

24: How can you make your main character’s voice unique?

25: What tools does your main character have to gain in order to win in the end? What do they have to overcome? How?

26: Do you have a ticking time bomb? If so, what is it? How does it escalate the tension?

27: What are your characters’ back stories?

28:  What mistakes does your main character make? And what does she learn from them? 

29: What is your story's theme?

30: Does your ending reflect the tension in the beginning, ie: what has your character has learned since that moment?

What are some of your tools for tackling revisions?

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Novel Spotlight IN MISTLETOE

IN MISTLETOE by Tammy L. Bailey

For their plan to work, they'll need to convince everyone they're in love.


At twenty-five, Grace Evans is steadily picking up the pieces of everyone else’s life. So, when her younger sister decides to turn into a runaway bride just four weeks before the wedding, Grace, drops everything to chase after her and bring her back home. Only, when the trail leads to Mistletoe, Washington, she finds herself at the mercy of the town’s most handsome and emotionally unavailable bachelor.

Ex-Army officer, Ayden McCabe, has three creeds in life: never make the first move, never fall in love, and never take anyone to Mistletoe’s Christmas Dance. Wanting nothing more than to keep his matchmaking sister from meddling in his personal life, he agrees to help Grace if she agrees to play his girlfriend. Too brunette and meek for his taste, Ayden believes Grace can’t tempt him enough to break any of his creeds. He could not be more wrong.



I was born in historical Appomattox, Virginia. After graduating from high school, I joined the military and served five years in the active duty Army. After leaving, I decided to go into the Ohio Air National Guard where I retired as a Master Sergeant in 2011. In case you were wondering, I have never flown a plane. After getting lost to the recruiter's office, I was highly discouraged from navigating one.

I admit, I am an avid Jane Austen fan and try to incorporate her in my books, in one way or another. This dream of writing, with Jane sometimes, is an exciting adventure that may take me as far as the stars or as close as my computer. 

When I'm not writing, I'm spending time with my husband and two boys, ages 13 and 10. Without their sacrifice and understanding, I would have never been able to pursue my passion of writing or my accomplishment of becoming a published author.

No matter what I write and read, there ALWAYS has to be a happy ending.


Friday, 2 December 2016

Best Gifts For Writers

You don't have to wait until Christmas to give your favourite writer a present *cough* me *cough* but since this is the season of giving, here are a few perfect items for the writer in your life.

#1. A waterproof notepad and pencil for when ideas strike them in the shower. And yes, it happens.

#2. A house plant for their writing nook to recycle all the carbon dioxide they emit when they huff and sigh over a plot snag. Studies show clear air is good for the head.

#3. A magic eight ball pen to help with all those tough decisions. Kill the hero? Should they kiss this chapter? Will the villain get caught?

#4. Fingerless gloves for the late cold evenings when everyone else has gone to bed.

#5. A basket of snacks to keep by the writing nook.

#6. Buy one of their books then write a glowing review on Goodreads. Make sure you use big words and sound official.

#7. A typewriter t-shirt! You can get yours from @PoisonPearHFX.

       Buy her awesome stuff on-line here.

#8. A mug with an inspirational message. "Don't give up on us! Love, your characters"

 You can get one from David's teas. Check it out

Encouragement. All it takes sometimes is the simplest, '
you can do this' to make a difference in a writer's day.

Happy Gifting!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

How to Write a Synopsis

Most writers would gladly write another novel instead of a synopsis. But like flossing and dinner with the in-laws, it is unavoidable and essential.

First of all, keep it simple. It's like a query, but with an ending.

Compare it to making soup; throw all the stuff in, let it simmer, reduce and keep reducing until it's done.

Step 1. Start by organizing your story in fifteen sentences. I like to use Blake Snyder's beat sheet.

Step 2. Trim it down. Be ruthless. Subplots can go. Focus on the main character's journey. They should learn something by the end of the novel. 

Step 3. Have someone who hasn't read your book go over the synopsis. It should make sense to them with a clear idea of the story. Surprisingly, a theme you never intended, will usually become obvious once you draw up your synopsis. 

As an example, here's a synopsis of
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, which I trimmed down from the Plot Like a Pro post.

Ten-year-old Harry Potter lives with his spiteful Aunt and Uncle, and abusive cousin. He is repeatedly reminded how lucky he is to have a roof over his head, despite the fact his parents had the audacity to get killed in a car accident when he was an infant.

But when mysterious letters keep arriving for Harry, his Uncle isn't upset, he's downright terrified. One night, a massive man with a woolly coat and beard arrives to announce that Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy is waiting for Harry's reply.

Harry is stunned to learn the true nature of his parent's death at the hands of an evil wizard named Lord Voldemort, and as a young wizard, he's due to start his magical education at Hogwarts.

Harry fears that he will not fit in, having never been exposed to magic. He is befriended by a stuttering, Professor Quirrell. During the sorting ceremony, Harry chooses to be in Gryffindor as opposed to Slytherin—the house which Lord Voldemort was placed as a student.

Harry learns a magical item that grants immortality, The Philosopher's Stone, has gone missing. After a Slytherin student tricks Harry into a midnight duel, he discovers a trap door guarded by a three headed dog and he speculates what's being protected.

Harry is pleased to discover he's a natural at Quidditch, a football style game played on broomsticks, and he enjoys the admiration from his classmates.

Having never been given presents, Harry has the best Christmas at Hogwarts with his new friends. He anonymously receives an invisibility cloak, which enables him to sneak around looking for clues about the trapdoor. Instead, he finds 'the mirror of erised'. In the reflection of the magical glass, Harry sees himself with his parents. He forgets about his real friends, choosing to spend all his time looking into the mirror.

While serving detention in the forbidden forest, Harry witnesses the murder of a unicorn and is saved by Firenze, one of the centaurs, who foretells that Lord Voldemort will once again rise to power. Harry realizes the man who murdered his parents will be coming for him next.

Fearing Snape, the head of Sytherin and the mean spirited potions master, is going to steal the Philosophers Stone to make the elixir of life for Lord Voldemort, Harry and his two best friends go down the trapdoor, hoping to grab it first.

After passing harrowing tests of skill through a series of chambers, Harry is the last one left to find the stone. With only a first year's knowledge of magic, he must face Snape alone. But Harry discovers Professor Quirrell is the real villain at Hogwarts who has been helping Lord Voldemort.

Knowing his parents died saving him, Harry feels overwhelming courage and finally believes in the power of their love. Harry defeats Quirrell (and Lord Voldemort) by using the mirror of erised.

Harry recuperates and accepts magic as his true destiny. The friends he's made at Hogwarts are his real family, and that he will never be alone again.

What are some of your tips to writing a synopsis?

Congratulations, you made it to the end of the post. Enjoy this link to a fabulous recipe for
chicken stew with butternut squash.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Novel Spotlight AN ANGEL'S SONG

AN ANGEL'S SONG (The Earth Bound Series #4)
 by Sharon Saracino

Passion is easy, love is harder.

After ten years of separation, Tessa and Alec are called to the deathbed of Tessa’s father and tasked with solving a mystery that points to WWII, the Nazi rĂ©gime, and the shadowy world of the Djinn. Although their passion still burns, forgiveness requires more than desire.

Alec, the Riddle King to the Defensori, is used to shutting out the world and working on his puzzles alone. But this time, he can’t shut Tessa out. This time, he needs his estranged wife's help. Tessa and her gift hold the key, and failure could cost her sanity…or her life.

Insecurity, immaturity, and misunderstanding drove them apart. Can they rebuild their shattered trust and work together to rescue a captive Djinni, stay one step ahead of the servants of the Fallen, and save their marriage along with Tessa’s life?

Now available!
Barnes & Noble
Wild Rose Press

About the Author

Award winning author, Sharon Saracino, was born and  raised in beautiful  Northeastern Pennsylvania. Always the girl with her nose in a book,  and frequently announced that someday she was going to write a one. One milestone birthday ( we won't discuss which one!) she decided someday would be here and gone if she didn't get her butt in gear.  Sharon is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter, and the Maryland Romance Writers.  She plans to win the lottery just as soon as she  remembers to purchase a ticket,  fantasizes about moving to Italy, brews limoncello, and believes there's always magic to be found if you only take the time to look for it!

Connect with Sharon!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Give Your Drab Scene the Norman Rockwell Treatment

When I was a little girl, my family and I would spend every Easter holiday on Prince Edward Island at my Grandmother's little bungalow on Willow Avenue.

Aside from the marshmallow-coconut squares and Froot Loops she'd have waiting for me, she also gave me all the pennies she'd collected since I'd last seen her—these were quickly spent at the candy store, one block up, past the blue house with the barking dog.

However, my fondest memories of those visits were looking through her collection of coffee table books. In particular she had a phone book thick edition of Norman Rockwell prints.

I spent hours sitting crossed legged on her living room floor, with that massive book open on my lap. I studied each image, amazed at the detail and sometimes suspiciously wondered if it was really a photograph instead.

Marriage License
photo credit,
But it wasn't only the technique I admired, it was the character in each picture that was so charming; the bride standing up on tip toe to sign the bridal registry, or the plastic flowers in the old woman's hat, intent on saying grace in a smoky and crowded diner.

Saying Grace
photo credit,

These touches of personality hinted at something more, something bigger...something alive. To me, each picture was a snap shot of someone's life, and I had the feeling the story kept going, long after I closed the cover.

Sadly, Granny passed away many years ago, but I still have that book, and when I flip through it's pages these days, I look at it with my writer's eye.

Normal Rockwell once said that if he hadn't become a painter he would have liked to have been a movie director. This makes perfect sense because after all, movie directors tell us a story.

Happy Birthday, Miss Jones
photo credit,
Steven Spielberg, who is no stranger to story telling, has this picture in his hallway.

He says out of all the art work in his home, Happy Birthday, Miss Jones, causes most people to pause for a few minutes.

What do you notice first?

The teacher? The girl with the pretty yellow bow? The boy with the eraser on his head?

Look at the expression on Miss Jones' face, she seems genuinely warmed by the surprise. The teacher is neither young or pretty and my writer's mind wonders if this is the only birthday greeting she'll receive.

Perhaps later, after a supper of toast and tea in her little apartment, she'll blow out one candle on a cupcake she bought herself. What would her wish be? Or maybe this is her happy ending—the unruly class that she struggled with all year, finally show some gratitude. 

And what about the little girl with the big expensive looking bow in her hair? Was it her idea to surprise Miss Jones, or was she the one to step on the piece of chalk, crushing it into the floor?

I'm guessing the boy sitting up straight and tall with the eraser on his head, is the one who impishly wrote the curly 'y' making her last name spell 'Jonesy'.

I wonder whose story this is and if it's the beginning, the middle, or the end.

It's the small details that bring this scene to life. There are so many possible stories taking place in this one picture, it's simply brilliant.

I try to remember Norman Rockwell when I'm writing. I step back and look at the big picture (pardon the pun) and try to imagine the little elements of personality I can add to help make the scene come alive.

photo credit,
Let's play a game. Consider this piece entitled, The Homecoming.

Who do you focus on? What catches your attention? Whose story do you want to know?

Break this scene down into one sentence and leave it in my comment section. It's amazing how many different ways writers can look at the same thing.

And since no one ever wants to be first up to the buffet, I'll dive in and get the party started.

She leaned against the wall, feeling the heat of the bricks through her thin dress, please let him think I'm still pretty, she wished.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The Ten Commandments for Writers

Have you lost sight of your plot? Are your characters being oppositional? Is the blank page mocking you?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, it's time to regroup and rejuvenate those writerly cells of yours. I know writerly isn't a word, but it's cute.

Thanks, Charlton. I'll take it from here.
photo credit
1. Thou shall not use the passive voice. Think action. Don't give the object all the attention, this story is about your characters, damn it!

2. Thou shall not complain about agents/editors on social media like T
witter or Facebook. Seriously, save the spitting for the coffee shop with your friends. All your public whining makes you sound—well whiny.

3. Thou shall not bore the reader to death with unnecessary description. Why spend three paragraphs describing how your character got from the bedroom to the kitchen? Just write, 
She went to the kitchen.  

4. Thou shall not make characters stare in a mirror and narrate what they look like. The use of dialogue and mannerisms conveys more about the character than their eye color.

5. Thou shall not use stereotypes to create one dimensional characters. "The bad guy" could be any of us on a certain day. Like in real life, everyone sees themselves as the star of their own story. Be aware of this motivation for all of your chacaters.

6. Thou shall not make a love triangle purely to move the plot forward. It's more interesting when the reader has no idea who the author wants to hook up.

7. Thou shall not have everything work out for your MC. Stop being so nice. I know you love them, but it's super boring to read about a character who always has a best friend to help her out. Make her suffer! Kick her while she's down, and then make her clean up the mess.

8. Thou shall not be afraid to use the "C" word. Yup, that's right. CONFLICT. See above.

9. Thou shall not GIVE UP. Overnight success is the result of years of hard work. Writing as a serious business, you have to grow a thick skin and learn to be patient, otherwise you'll be disappointed.

10. Go back and read number nine again, it's worth repeating.

 Any other wise sayings to add?

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Novel Spotlight THE PIRATE'S LADY

The Pirate’s Lady by Tricia Schneider

Psst...don't forget to scroll down for the giveaway!

Captain Marco Dante was captured and sentenced to hang two years ago, but he escaped before his punishment was carried out. Now he's come back to the woman whose memory kept him alive those long months in prison. Arianne had been his grand passion, but he failed to see how much she meant to him until it was too late. Can he recapture her heart? Or has he lost her forever?

Arianne never imagined she’d see her notorious pirate lover again. Though her heart sings with joy at his return, she knows he hasn't come back for her but for the treasure he left behind. She agrees to help him find it, but can her heart withstand one more adventure with him?


“I have a life here now.”

“There’s nothing for you here. Your place is by my side. In your heart, you know ’tis true.”

She looked away, turning her gaze to the ocean’s waves pounding the beach with hypnotic rhythm. A few moments ago, she sat here, mulling over her life’s misfortunes and attempting to reach a decision about her future. Her fate.

Arianne shook her head. “I no longer travel your path. You sail without me, my friend.”

She pushed her bare toes into the grainy sand and stood, brushing the remaining sand that clung to her petticoats. In the silence of the crashing waves, she turned and walked away.

Inside, her heart bled. Yet, she deserved no better. Her life led to this heartache. That she walked away from this man now, after all this time only confirmed it.

“Arianne, you’re coming with me.”

His serious tone warned her of his intentions. She spun to face him, unsheathing her sword in time to block his attack. The sound of metal striking metal pierced the moonlit darkness. Her ears rang with the sound.

They stood, neither moving. She stared into his eyes. “You would take me by force?”

“Never by force,” his voice lowered to a growl. “You will come willingly.” And he smiled, that knowing one she hated.

She let out a howl of outrage and swung her sword. He easily blocked. They stepped a deadly dance of striking blades, until again they were trapped by heated gazes.

Her breathing was heavy, labored, filled with excitement. She looked at his lips, wanting to taste them but knowing she dared not. Her will was never strong around him. With one touch she might lose herself and want him again for forever. But that dream would never be achievable with Marco.

With him, she’d always be alone.

“Come with me, Arianne.”

“No.” She pushed away and again they danced. Her feet moved lightly as she sprang, her petticoats swirling with each movement though she hoped they would not entangle her legs. Her arm swung with lithe movements as she fought.

She equaled him with skill and grace. Each time their swords clashed, the noise pierced her soul. That she fought him was a testament to her determination to escape his tyranny over her heart. She could not succumb to him again.

As they battled, a sheen of sweat appeared upon his brow. The exposed skin of his chest glistened in the moonlight. His arms flexed as he swung his sword. His grace, his power, his energy seduced her.

Her heart pounded. Her skin ached to touch his. The heat in her lower regions grew to a fiery inferno. She trembled.

Again, they locked blades.

They stood a moment, staring. His gaze burned into her soul. She licked the salty sweat from her upper lip, and his eyes followed the movement with utter fascination.

He pushed their swords away. With his free hand, he grabbed her shoulder, pulling her tight against his chest. Arianne tilted her head to look into his eyes. The blue depths called to her, like the ocean’s waves licking at her feet. The yearning to go to him was too great.

She hadn’t the will to fight.

About the Author:

Tricia Schneider is an author of historical, paranormal and gothic romance. Before the supernatural took possession of her pen, she worked for several years as Assistant Manager and bookseller at Waldenbooks. After the store closed, she turned to writing fiction full-time. She has written both short stories and full-length novels published by The Wild Rose Press, including her newest book, The Pirate's Lady, and her historical paranormal romance series, The Merriweather Witches. Tricia is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives in the Pennsylvania coal region with her musician husband, their 4 young children and 3 rescued cats.

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a Pirate Treasure Chest Trinket Box

Monday, 7 November 2016

How To Give Your Readers An Unforgettable Ending

A story is more than a sequence of events that lead to a crisis and result in a resolution—it is a journey that should invest us emotionally, so that by the time our hero faces the crisis we're hoping for a happy ending for him.

Earlier, I posted about great
beginnings, building the action through the middle, and how to write a nail biting climax. Now I'd like to focus on making sure your conclusion resonates with the reader in a way that is both rewarding and incendiary.

There are a number of ways to finish a story, but depending on what kind of ending you'd like to write, you'll have to ask yourself these questions.

Will my hero succeed in achieving the story goal?

What do I want my hero to learn?

Do I want him to learn from his mistake or his success?

Whether you want a happy outcome or not, your ending will probably fall into one of the four categories.

Comedy. The protagonist achieves the story goal and his success results in a positive outcome.

In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is able to find the true meaning of humanity and vows to change his ways, becoming a charitable person for the rest of his life.

photo credit,

2. Tragedy. The protagonist fails to achieve the story goal, and his failure results in a negative outcome.

The Crucible, John Procter is falsely accused of being a witch and is unable to convince the courts of his former lover's jealousy towards his wife. He is forced to falsely confess, but in the end he is unwilling to lie and is hung to die.

photo credit,

3. Tragi-comedy. The protagonist fails to achieve the goal, but his failure results in a positive outcome.

The Golden Compass, Lyra is unable to save her best friend, but his death results in her discovery of a bridge between worlds.
photo credit,

4. Comi-tragedy. The protagonist achieves the goal, but his success results in a negative outcome.

The Great Gatsby, Jay uses criminal means to acquire the riches and lifestyle he's sought after in hopes of impressing Daisy, only to lose her and eventually his life.

No matter which ending you create for your hero, make certain you conclude with the same style and voice you've established throughout the story. And remember, even though you may not have a happy ending, the central conflict must be resolved, and loose ends or significant questions should be answered.

I hope you found this helpful. You may want to check out Glen C. Strathy's site. He has excellent tips for plotting, and in particular, nailing your ending.

What are some of your memorable endings?
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