My face-to-face writers group met last night. Two of us are illustrators and three of us are novelists (well, T. might not call herself a novelist since she’s published picture books, but she’s WRITING novels!), so we have a number of meetings where we aren’t actually critiquing manuscripts. (We prefer to critique whole novels at once rather than go chapter by chapter.)
But just because we don’t have anything to critique doesn’t mean we don’t have anything to talk about. Last night, three of us (the novelists!) had problems to discuss.
I talked about the problems I was having with the ending of Truth About Truman. I’ve got all these writing books that talk about endings and climaxes and denouements. janni blogged about “landing the ending” yesterday. She said one of the best pieces of advice she’s ever gotten on endings is “look to the beginning; often the ending brings us back to something from the beginning,” which is certainly the case in Truth About Truman. But that’s not the part of the ending I’m having trouble with…it’s more the climax. I just don’t know what to do!
So, like I said, I was babbling to my writers group about my struggle to find the climax in my story (My editor never actually said this, but I’ve been thinking I didn’t write the climax the first time around…I skipped over it). I found out that not only does every single member of this group believe this story actually has a climax (who knew?), I also found out which scene is the climax. It wasn’t a scene I ever thought of as a climax before.
I don’t remember who said it first, but when they all piped in that yes this is the climax, I just stopped. Wow. What if that scene is the climax? Their rationale (this is the scene where the three main characters who have been separate throughout the entire book come together) made sense.
I’d have to make the scene a little bit bigger, and probably move a few things around so I don’t have as much of the story left to tell afterwards, but it could work.
And as we talked some more we thought of a way to have these three characters figure out “who did it” when they’re together in this scene, which helps me get rid of the preachy school assembly scene (that needed to go away anyway). So, this has possibilities. I’m excited to be back at my desk again this morning. It’s going to take some work…but that’s okay. At least I have direction!