Sunday, January 8, 2017

Quality Endings: Major Sacrifice

Hello, my wicked lovelies!

How are you this fine Sunday? I'm hard at working avoiding writing work.

I am the most unorganized note-taker of all time. My napkin notes are pinned and taped into my books. Buried under several different bleeding inks.

I seriously don't even know if I can salvage my notes notebook at this point. Actually, to start, I have no idea where it is. I was trying to tape pages back in it last time I had it.

But I came across a gem. No credit on the note but it sure as hell wasn't mine. (Tell me if it's yours!)

Major sacrifice to win: "To have a quality ending you have to raise the stakes to the point that hero cannot win unscathed."

Google Search on this is disturbing as all hell

If anyone loves torture/doom/gloom, it's me. Let's lift those endings to break-my-heart glory.

I was reading a writing article.

Pretty damn sure it was Karen Woodward and she was talking Don Maass.

He's amazing and on top of torturing readers along with characters, his advice often makes writers cringe.

I know every time I head over to his blog/guest post/Twitter feed, my brain is broken for the rest of the day. Like "how will I ever do that?"

All of his ideas are good but oh so tricky to put into practice.

Well, Karen reminded me of something Don said.

Paraphrased:

What's the one thing your character would never give up to achieve their goal? NOW MAKE THE CHARACTER SACRIFICE IT.

*wolf howls*
That advice? ^ Utter gold.

What if there was no way Katniss would have gotten out of the games without murdering/being murdered? What if the nightlock pact wasn't going to appease the crowd, who'd rather be tortured by Romeo and Juliet than let them live?

What if Katniss had to kill stand-in Primrose AKA Rue?



Of course, some of you don't write life or death in the literal sense kinds of stories. But you should. Just kidding.

But this advice doesn't apply only to life or death stories.

Romance, for example.

Our heroine loves her sister more than anything, but her little sister is pushing away or making grabby hands at our heroine's love interests.

Besides smack the bitch, what if our heroine had to do something she didn't want to? What if our heroine had to come to terms with the fact her little sister doesn't love her back and the only thing left to do is leave that girl behind to save her love?

Take from the character what they love the most. For the better. This is heartwrenchingly sympathetic/relatable.

Did you guess what I was talking about?

Watch 27 Dresses
Basically, give your protagonist something. Take it from them. And watch them bleed.

Besides The Dark Knight and The Hunger Games, there are other stories where the hero has had to make a major sacrifice. It has the best effect when it is during The Ordeal. (See Hero's Journey.)

When you force someone to pick between what they want and what they need, there's growth. And that makes the journey for one, not in vain, for two, complete.

And the people who grow like us, they stay with us for a long time.

So make all your characters suffer!

The answer is always suffering. 😘