Final Days Of 2017 Day 9: Chapter Endings To Keep Readers Turning Pages

#vss very short story

Paisley’s Christmas wish had come true. Shoes, just her size, growing in the trees. Her boyfriend died when a particularly sharp pump was allowed to over-ripen on the branch and fell into his head. But shoes!

Today’s Poetry Prompt and Poem

MoSt (Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center) 10th Annual New Year’s Poetry Challenge has begun. You can still sign up if you are interested. The first poem to write is a haiku of a minor holiday.

Today’s prompt is to choose a piece of furniture and write a poem of appreciation or an ode to it.

The Reading Chair

Fading seat with a center crease
Wooden handle for the footrest release
Rocking comfort as tensions cease
In the corner next to the lamp

Faded turquoise of ’80s whim
Corduroy softened by friction with skin
Protective guard cloths for head or limb
Never stay in position

Weighted in place in blankets and snuggy
Sated by a steaming cup of spiced tea
Safe to travel where the words will take me
A world of my fantasy

 

Editing Focus

Now that we got rid of any chapters and large chunks of text that don’t move the story along, let’s take a look at chapter endings.

My friend Christopher Bailey, author of The Crystal Key (Starjumper Legacy, Book 1), The Vanishing Sun (Starjumper Legacy, Book 2), The Plague of Dawn: The Plague of Dawn (Starjumper Legacy, Book 3), Without Chance and Whisper knows how to keep me turning pages. When I read one of his books, I cannot put it down until the last page. When I asked him how he does it. He told me to take a look at my chapter endings. How do I leave my reader hanging, so they’ll have to keep reading?
In James Scott Bell’s Revision And Self-Editing (Write Great Fiction) he says there are innumerable possibilities to end a scene, but offers these ideas to prompt the reader to read on:

  • a mysterious line of dialogue
  • an image that’s full of foreboding (like the fog rolling in)
  • a secret suddenly revealed
  • a major decision or vow
  • announcement of a shattering event
  • reversal or surprise–new information that suddenly turns the story around
  • a question left hanging in the air

In Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore by Elizabeth Lyon she says to:

  • End with the unexpected
  • End with an interruption
  • End sections and chapters at high points of uncompleted drama.
  • End with questions still raised.

 

Christopher Bailey wrote a post for Experience Writing last fall called Carving Through Writer’s Block. Give it a read for more of his good advice.

#FlashFicHive

ffhD9

sat hashtag games

 

The #satlines theme is Cracks or Breaks. The #SuperheroSat optional theme is Energy.

Don’t Forget To Read!

Don’t forget to read author interviews. They can be inspiring and full of information about the craft.

There are some great ones here on Experience Writing:

Christopher Bailey

Geoffrey Calhoun (Screenwriting)

Bree Moore (Nanowrimo feature)

Diana Rose Wilson

You can read more author interviews all over the internet. Here are some places to get started:

Author Interviews: NPR

Author Interviews: Writer’s Digest

Author Interviews: Goodreads

Author Interviews: HuffPost

Author Interviews: New York Times (audio archive list)

Happy Reading and Writing!

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