Writing is such a unique journey for each and every writer. Some find it easy to meld their chapters one into another; others find it easy to get just the right ending, with some kind of twist or surprise that gives it a great edge. Others still, find it easy to jump right into a story and write a grab-the-reader beginning. And, there are other aspects of writing a story that some writers just breeze though effortlessly.
I find it relatively easy to start a story. I can create a beginning that jumps into the action, which is what most stories, especially children’s stories need. But . . . I find it difficult to end my stories. I have no idea why. I can start it, bring it along toward an ending, but, then I fizzle out. My endings are initially weak and definitely lacking.
While I noted this weakness in my writing, it didn’t really hit home until I submitted a manuscript to a children’s publisher. I pitched the story to the publisher during an Online Writers Conference. The publisher allowed me to submit a synopsis and the first three chapters.
The editor who read the chapters and synopsis liked the storyline, but was confused about my ending in the synopsis. As I mentioned above I have trouble with my endings. Aside from that, the editor recommended the publisher request the manuscript so they could look it over. They did advise I edit it first and work on the ending. And so I did. I created an entirely new ending.
It’s funny, but I think there are times when some form of inspiration can take us where we don’t usually tread . . . that helps us overcome our obstacles or mountains.
In the case of my story, I came up with a pretty good ending that tied everything together and afforded a surprise. I worked on this story for around two years and finally when it counted, I found the right path for the story to take.
We writers must pay attention to our writing weak spots and work on them. I was fortunate that an editor and publisher looked beyond my weak points and gave me the opportunity to improve my story. This is not always the case.
So, what’s a writer to do?
Well, the very basics are simple:
1. Make sure you’re a part of a critique group with new and experienced writers. The critique members may be able to help you over the hurdles. At the very least, they’ll catch a number of mistakes in everything from structure to grammar that you missed.
2. If you have to, write a few different scenarios in the section you’re having trouble with, to help you open up. And, if you’re still having trouble with your story, put it away for at least a week, preferably more, and then go back to it. It’s almost like magic; you’ll see it differently, with a newness and awareness. And, listen when inspiration comes a knockin!
3. If nothing else works, hire a developmental editor or ghostwriter to help rewrite the sections you’re having difficulty with.
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