Sodaro's Stories

October 26, 2015

Forcing a Fit (thoughts about a book’s ending)

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 9:51 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I once went on a first (and last) date with a guy who told me I would be the perfect fit for him if he could just shave off some of my rough edges. While he was a horrible date, he did give me a good lesson (as most things do) for my novels.

If you are trying to force a book to flow a certain way, or especially END a certain way…you are doing what Mr. Creepy wanted to do to me (metaphorically). He wanted to take off the parts of me that didn’t fit with his preconceived idea of a mold for the perfect girlfriend instead of letting things develop to see if it could be better than the pre-existing list of what was needed for a girlfriend (yes, I am glad this conversation took place on date one).

When I am planning out my novel, I do a rough sketch of a kind of outline which is written both literally and figuratively in pencil…as in subject to change as the story grows and the characters develop.

“But wait,” you jump up and say, “isn’t this MY story? Don’t the characters have to go what I say?”

“You are fricken adorable.” I say as I pat your head. “Now sit down.”

Your characters chose you to tell THEIR story (if you want it to be YOUR story, write a memoir or autobiography). Trust me on this — this novel you are writing is about them, not you, not your ego, not your control issues. Let go of the “rough edges” you want to shave off your story and just let it become the perfect mess it was meant to be.

I use to try to command my characters take the plot this certain way so we could get to the “perfect” ending that I was SURE was what the novel needed. Now I am getting ready to self-publish my 5th novel and I can promise you — the most valuable lesson I have learned is to just let the plot happen and not try to force anything on the characters, the plot, and especially the ending.

I have learned to trust the system…part of that trust and not forcing is to let the novel percolate a bit and wait for the ending to come to me…it happens when it’s ready, like all things. With each novel, I get to the point of typing “The End,” I hope that this time, the ending won’t appear to me at 2 in the morning. Maybe this time.

And to the guy who didn’t like my rough edges…I really hope you found your perfect girlfriend.

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