What makes a good opening? A vivid description? A lot of words? Very few? What really draws someone into a story you are about to share? It’s these questions that circulate my mind when I’m penning anything.
But what if you’re midway through a story and run into a brick wall? You’ve written all there is to know about the story, what you want to focus on anyway, and you’re still not done. Well, if there were a good time to do some harping it’d be now.
What does your character wish s/he’d done with their life? What did s/he used to do? How can you tie that into the story?
I look at every aspect of a characters life as a prospective catalyst. Their strengths, weaknesses, secrets, joys, dreams, regrets, etc., are all tools that help pave the path to the completion of their testimony.
In my life I’ve only taken one fiction writing course (as a sophomore in college) and the one piece of bad advice that I still “use” to this day is to know how it ends.
I vehemently beg to differ… In fact, I deliberately decide to wander in the terrain that is the blank canvas of likelihood and possibility until I’m so compelled to scribe whatever “comes to mind“. That, being whatever part of the world’s soul speaks loudest at the time.
Your writing someone else’s story is not about a formula. It’s about the person (human/non-human), their story, your interpretation of that story and how it connects with the rest of the world’s soul. So be it a journey that you take while scribing it, there’s no harm
(more good, in my opinion) in exploring the possibilities of resolutions while narrating.
I enjoy the writing process more that way.
It takes a sense of humility and generosity to share a story in the first place. Why does that sense of compassion have to end there? Of course, not determining an ending requires one to relinquish a certain amount of control of the narrative, but it provides a space for true discovery and exploration. A space that can be shared once that story is related to others. And that is how a connection is born. Because my dream of relating any narrative is that it inspires others to connect.