Monday, April 5, 2010

Energetic Efficiency

[Yes, I'm a day ahead... yesterday's blog has the explainer if you are interested, but rest assured, there is a plan]

Sometimes when I'm writing, each word is a chore; drawing out the story is a painful extraction. But every once in a while I hit the zone, a euphoria of excited energy, and my efficiency skyrockets. So I've been thinking maybe I should identify how to create that, and bottle it. I could make a FORTUNE, not to mention rolling through these books I write with much more efficient speed.

It is almost a chemical elation, but it seems any drug that induces euphoria, dampens focused elan. I've asked Evan, Ethan and Eric, but eagerness is really all I can get out of them. That's not to say I can't appreciate a little enthusiastic event now and again, but they seem to prefer my hands occupied elsewhere.


Edgy Endings

How do you like them? Firm, taut, nicely rounded?

You think I am to the butt part already, don't you? Patience, Grasshopper... Endings are my most frequent complaint on a book. I can easily get sucked into story, plot, character... but if the ending doesn't satisfy, then I am disappointed... so I thought I'd go through what I like in an ending and toss it out there and see if I'm a freak... okay, so I know I'm a freak... but do y'all like the same kinds of endings as I do, or do you want something else?

Ending DO: Elegantly tie in dozens of details that have been sprinkled through the book.

Ending DO: End a long term tension with eagerly awaited satisfaction.

Ending DO: Entertain me with a really twisty, bendy surprise. I like the kind when I can SEE IT COMING on a second read, but the first read it bowls me over.

Ending DON'T: Edge off a cliff and abandon us. I HATE endings that are way too sudden or jarring. I need some sense of what life AFTER the climax will be like. Spoon me, if you will.

DON'T: Pull some sudden obstacle or antagonist out of thin air. (Oh, I know, the lack of E words in that is apparent, but the point of WRITING the darn book is not to string together a series of independent events. It is to craft a solid structure that can hold up on its own and this is my very most frequent complaint—that there is some contrived plot point that nobody could have seen coming, even in retrospect).

And now what you've all been waiting for...


Euphoric Ends

Almost makes me think I could take another six weeks of winter, eh?

All right now boys... turn around and drop 'em...


Okey dokey, so there we have it. Have a great week!

22 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Thanks for the tips on endings! They're the hardest part of the book for me...

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

gae polisner said...

what a way to start my ending, i mean morning (I swear I only realized half way thru i was typing that). Hart, you're one funny chick. I like things tied up too (er) but not too tied up, if you know what i mean. At least in the type of fiction i write, which is women's... the ending cant be too perfect or i just wont believe it. This is life, not Pretty Woman after all. Mmmm, Richard Gere... ;)

Watery Tart said...

Elizabeth-I agree they can be hard to write. I think the late middle right BEFORE the ending is hardest, but I know that is because all the ducks need to be in a row for the ending to then roll smoothly.

Gae-Oh, on Women's fic, I am TOTALLY with you! I like THOSE endings to be perspective change or something... a new way of looking at the world that gives hope of promise but DOESN'T tie it all up. Any genre with a ton of action, though, at least most of THOSE pieces...

Megan said...

Good work here. Great pics too. I'm with you on endings. I HATE when someone is brought in toward the end and you're like WHOTF is that and WHYTF are they in this book?

And you know what else, I hate when the protag dies at the end and you're not expecting it. I'm okay with a long drawn out illness, but like getting hit by a semi in the end, or getting stung by bees and dying is not good. not good at all.

Thanks for the blog.

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Yes I agree, endings can be quite a disappointment sometimes. I like to see what happens after the climax too. But I also hate when the protagonist get exactly what he'she wants. I find it unrealistic and too hollywood. I like endings that twist the protagonist's priorities around :)

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I also hate sudden endings. It's as if the author simply got tired of writing and wanted to end it to go on to something else. Great use of the letter “e” and another very nice photo, by the way.

Watery Tart said...

Megan- Oh, yeah--I don't like the blast from the blue killing the MC at the end, either, UNLESS... like, say Tale of Two Cities, when he's really been an anti-hero... a self sacrifice from someone selfish who has finally learned is good.

AA: Yeah--TOO clean is bad. I actually like it when they get not what they WANT but something they didn't realize was even BETTER. (peace instead of fame, a child instead of a partner... those twists) So yeah, I', agreeing with you...

Jane-I like an unwind--you're right-it DOES feel like the writer gave up (or maybe the publisher hated what she wrote). And THANK YOU!

Helen Ginger said...

Did you mean to put words with those pictures? Wait a minute, let me go back....yes, you did have words there. Sorry, got distracted. I'm kidding!

I'm with you, I want to be satisfied by the ending, maybe a little surprised, but not so surprised once I stop to think about the clues that were left.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Watery Tart said...

teehee--maybe I overshot with the pics today.

Lisa K. said...

If you find a way to bottle that writing euphoria, I hope you'll let me know. That's the best feeling, and one I've sadly been missing for the last few months.

Caledonia Lass said...

Nope, you are not a freak. I like and dislike the same kinds of endings. :D

Watery Tart said...

Lisa, I'll let you know. Looking for a really hot chemist at the moment to help me figure it out....

CL: Yeah, not sure if I just seem to draw like minds, but it does seem to me there are a fair few of us!

Raquel Byrnes said...

I agree with the sentiment that being led off a cliff at the end of a story is jarring. We are in the business of entertaining and readers generally want a satisfying ending after hours of time...great post...AWESOME pix.

Wanda said...

Excellent e-post!

Marjorie said...

Know what I can't stand? Books that have lots of suffering, and a long journey only to have an equally depressing ending. For God's sake put SOMETHING good in the book. Don't make me want to kill myself by the end. A good example of this is The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck.

Watery Tart said...

Raquel--Say, my Spanish teacher named me Raquel, so I have an affinity for you right off the bat! (she said it's cuz Raquels are smart, but I knew it was because we were spicy!) Welcome! And yes, satisfying ending, please!

Wanda, welcome to you too! Thank you!

Marjorie, I can deal with sadness followed by angst as long as there is some profound self discovery... somehow that makes up for it, but MOSTLY sad followed by sad is just sad... (as is awful, followed by slightly less awful--Say... Crime and Punishment--hmph. Though honestly, my issue with that one is I never got fully in the MCs head... his point was pointless) Oddly, I LIKE Brothers Karamazov, so it isn't Dostoyevsky or a 'likeable' hero, just an understandable one.

B. Miller said...

The ending is coming. I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, thanks for these pointers. I know they'll come in handy in a few weeks! :D

Lola Sharp said...

I was very satisfied with this beginning, middle and ENDing!

My first time here...nice man-meat greeting!

Think I might have to stick around.
~Lola

PS-Seriously, many books (and movies too) fall apart or fall together too neatly, predictably. I think a perfect ending is the most difficult part to get exactly right.
Hemingway re-wrote the ending to A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine (39!) times. Why? "Because I wanted to get it right", he replied.
Commitment, that.

Watery Tart said...

B-you will get there! I have faith!

Lola, welcome! yeah... man meat is something I seem to fall back on i when I am not confident on content... but people seem to give me an A for effort, there!

And Hemingway was COMMITTED, but he was also INSANE. He might have been a more contented person had he stopped at an even dozen... I mean, I want it RIGHT, but I don't really want to end up going bonkers over it... (well, not the suicidal variety of bonkers, anyway...)

jenny milchman said...

Like you, I like a nice, tight ending...

Oh, and also--meaningful in the sense of justice. If evil triumphs, I, simple, Disnified, Hollywood movie machine American that I am, will cringe at myself for not being deep, yet still feel... unsatisfied.

Niki said...

awwwww here I am, finally on my own, ready for bare bottom viewing...and they're all covered up!!! hehehe

Excellent post - I agree totally. :o)

Watery Tart said...

Jenny-I like some justice, too--doesn't have to be traditional necessarily, but it needs to feel RIGHT.

Niki-I'll try to make it up to you today--how's that>