As I continue to seek counsel in James Scott Bell’s “Plot & Structure”, I continue to work my way through each chapter and its exercizes. Though I’ve read the book in order, I haven’t been posting in order; instead, I’vee been blogging about the chapters based on the significance of the impact they’ve had on my recovery. With that said, I’m going to jump back to the beginning of his book for a moment.
It all starts with Bell’s foundational LOCK system: Lead, Objective, Conflict, Knockout ending
It hasn’t been hard to figure out the first three parts of my story – I’ve got my girl, I know what she wants, and I know why she can’t have it. But a knockout ending? Bell says, “a weak ending will leave the reader with a feeling of disappointment, even if hte book up to that point is strong.” I agree. I’ve read too many novels that disappointed me. But how do I avoid that?
How do I give a romance novel a knockout ending? Let’s be honest – romances are pretty formulaic, so how does one make it different?
Thankfully, Bell provides help for that, too. Later in the book he challenges the reader to brainstorm endings. I did that, and I came up with some ideas, but I can’t help wondering if they’re really my ideas, or I read them somewhere before. Am I sure they’re originals?
I don’t know.
I do know that I’m not yet satisfied with any of my options. There are only so many ways to end a romantic comedy, so I need to dig deep. There are thousands of options when you piece together different settings, characters, conversations, and tones. I just need to figure out what it is about my characters and their personalities that sets them apart. Their situations may be similar, but I need to find that thing that knocks out the reader.
QUESTION: How do you keep your endings fresh? What’s your secret to finding a knockout ending?