Previously, the story ended with a cliffhanger. Did Sarah shoot Mitch? What happened to Nathan?
Not much left to do in the narrative but to wrap it up with one last scene. Sarah’s scene. I have thought about different ways to make this last one special in some way. For example, instead of drawing a random card, I was thinking about adding up the numbers of all the previous cards (including repeats), and getting the average number from that (which rounds up to 12), using that card for this scene. Sort of seeing where all the cards so far would have me end up.
Doing that, I got card #12 — Stack Of Needles. The card wants me to overwhelm the hero with too much. I liked that idea. But just for the hell of it, I also drew a random card.
And ended up going with it, instead:
Card #7 — Move Ahead Three Spaces
What would happen if you skipped over the next few scenes/days/years?
The last scene ended up with someone shooting–perhaps at Mitch, perhaps not. Skipping ahead from there would end the story with a bit of tension and unanswered questions. In a good way, I think.
Jumping forward gives you a chance to re-center your characters in the story, and show the effects of their actions. Like a curtain between acts, it lets you change styles and settings and seasons.
Readers can often fill in what they missed, particularly when the overall patterns are clear. We don’t need to see every week at Hogwarts, because we know how schools work.
If skipping scenes makes little impact on your story, that’s a clear sign you need to get rid of them.
The main question for me would be: where to I pick up the story at the end? How do make the characters reflect on what happened just one scene earlier?
Let me look into the exercises to see if brainstorming some of those will help me with my own questions.
Look for ways to combine scenes and locations. If your hero needs to have an argument and then go hiking, can the argument happen on the hike?
- The thought behind this exercise is why I like the idea of that card so much for the last scenes. I feel the chase after the cocaine, the running away and being chased has been drawn out for too long now. Skip ahead a little bit and deal with the consequences of all that has happened in one scene a while later.
List three events the reader might anticipate will happen in your story, such as Regionals, prom, or the wedding. Could you skip ahead to one of them?
Think about transitions: Is there a natural way to make it clear that time has passed (e.g., Christmas trees, sunrise, graduation)?
Any ideas, thoughts, comments? Would you have done anything differently?