Structuring Your Novel – Save The Cat! Beat Sheet

This month, I have been primarily focusing on getting Chasing War into a place where I feel confident that over the next few months, I can make it amazing. This sequel has tested me a lot already in the drafting stage. The story is good, but there are much more problems than when I was drafting Chasing Fae. Maybe that’s me though; there may have been just as many problems back then too. 😀

A few weeks ago, I just knew something was wrong with the book. But for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what it was. At first, I thought it might be a bunch of missing plot points. Maybe the book needed more substance? But that didn’t quite feel right. Although I needed much more character development, this was a second draft, and something more was missing. I took to Twitter to ask for help. An author, Shawn T. Anderson (@ShawnTWrites) told me about Save The Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody, a book about novel writing. He told me it was a great diagnostic tool for plot problems.

I did some searching and ended up on Samantha Gilbo’s website where I found a great step-by-step guide on how to outline your novel using Brody’s book. It included a free beat sheet that I would highly recommend you grabbing; it helped me visualize the process much more clearly. I don’t want to directly copy over what she has said, so I’ll give you a basic overview and have you read her article on your own.

Act 1: The Beginning

  • Opening Image – A scene that shows the protagonist in her world before the adventure. It can be an introduction to your main character or if it’s a sequel like my book, a showcasing of the new state your protagonist found themselves in at the end of book 1 before everything changes again.
  • Setup – Multiple scenes that reveal the protagonist’s current life and the world around them with all of their flaws. Sometimes you may introduce supporting characters or some sort of initial goal for the character to work towards.
    • Somewhere in there, there will be a scene where your main theme is stated, something that hints at what your protagonist will learn over the course of your book.
  • Catalyst – A scene where a life-changing event happens to your main character that launches them onto the path of the rest of the story.
  • Debate – Several scenes where the protagonist debates what to do next.
  • Break Into Two – A scene where the protagonist decides to accept their new role, embark on their new adventure, and/or otherwise enter upon the point where everything will change.

Act 2A: The Middle (Part 1)

  • B Story – A scene that introduces a new character or a series of supporting characters that will ultimately help the protagonist on their journey.
  • Fun and Games – A multitude of scenes where the protagonist either succeeds or fails in a series of events that show off the new world they have been thrust into.
  • Midpoint – A single scene where the above section either ends in what Gilbo describes as a “false victory” (if the protagonist has been succeeding so far) or a “false defeat” (if the protagonist has been failing so far). Gilbo provides some great examples in her description.

Act 2B: The Middle (Part 2)

  • Bad Guys Close In – Depending on which direction your midpoint takes, the next several scenes will show an impactful turn in the protagonist’s path. In the situation of a “false victory”, everything will go downhill from there. In the case of a “false defeat”, things will slowly begin to get better and better for your main character. In either choice, the external bad guy (antagonist) or an internal enemy (like fear or a false belief) are closing in.
  • All is Lost – A scene that takes your main character to their lowest point.
  • Dark Night of the Soul – Multiple scenes where the protagonist takes time to process everything that has happened so far. This usually brings forth some revelation that ushers them into the story’s finale.
  • Break Into Three – A scene where the protagonist realizes what they have to do to fix the external story struggles as well as their internal struggles.

Act 3: The End

  • Finale – The protagonist takes matters into their own hands in this multi-scene segment and solves their dilemmas. Gilbo breaks this out into five separate parts, which I would highly recommend reading about in her article. I found it super helpful.

My Results

After reading over this format and filling it out for Chasing War, I found out what my problems were! Turns out, the issues with the draft had to do with structure rather than plot. I ended up making a sheet to rearrange the entire first half of the book. The inciting incident needs to occur earlier, and magical lessons needed to be spread out throughout the story. In the process, I found seven places to add new chapters that would connect subplots better. When I wrote everything out, I instantly felt this wave of relief and honestly, thrill wash over me. I had solved my problem!

All in all, I would highly, highly recommend using this method if you are having problems with plot or structure in your novel. It absolutely revitalized my excitement for this sequel. If you try it out, let me know how it goes!

Tackling A Fairytale Retelling

Hey everybody! I’m back! I finished up my last class of the semester on Friday, and now (despite exams), I have much more time to concentrate on my writing and on this blog. I have been trying to brainstorm topics relating to writing fantasy that readers would be interested in. I have a few, but if you have any ideas or topics that you would love to read about, please shoot me a comment or a message!

For today’s blog post, I want to chat about a subgenre of fantasy that I am thinking about attempting: the fairytale retelling. After the Chasing Fae trilogy, I’m considering taking on a Robin Hood retelling. It is one of my favorite childhood stories, and I have some pretty solid ideas to take the story in a new direction. It’s a subgenre that I enjoy reading, but it has to be done right. So I have been exploring the web for the best tips for writing a fairytale retelling, and these are the top three that I found.

Tip #1: Read Your Chosen Fairytale Carefully.

Before you take on your fairytale retelling, you must read the original! Whatever the story or fairytale may be, find the original version and read it from cover to cover. Make some notes on the various elements of the story. Essentially, you have to take stock of what you have to work with: characters, general plotline, what details of the world are available. It may seem tedious, but you want to capture every detail you can so you can build from there.

Tip #2: Figure out what you want to change.

Next, you’ll want to decide how much you want to change for your retelling. Here’s a few ideas you may want to think about:

  • Whose perspective do you want to tell the story from? Will it be the protagonist, or will you take it from a different perspective?
  • Do you want to update the setting? For example, will you be changing the time period to the present day? How will the world change?
  • How do you want to enhance the characterization? How can you make the main characters more full, more well-rounded to suit your purposes? What minor characters might jump into the spotlight?
  • What is your twist? What is your unexpected element that is going to make this retelling unique?

Tip #3: Build a world around the story.

One of the things that is interesting about classic fairytales is that often the setting can be quite nondescript. You hear about the “beautiful castle” or the “rolling hills”, but it has very little other details. This gives you the ability to dream big with your worldbuilding. That is one of the things that I am most excited to tackle in a fairytale retelling. Take this opportunity to take those little details and go wild. If you want more inspiration on how to take your worldbuilding to the next level, check out my Worldbuilding tab for worldbuilding questions and tips.

That’s all for now, friends. I’ll write more posts soon! Happy writing!

Bringing Characters Back For The Sequel

Hello friends!

Now that my first book is out in the world, it is time for me to turn my attention to writing book 2. As I have gotten back into the swing of writing a first draft again, I am realizing that there are just as many, if not more elements to consider in writing a fantasy sequel than writing the first book or a standalone. The world that I have created has to be maintained while I am also elaborating on places the reader has already seen and creating new destinations for them to enjoy. I must create an entirely new storyline that must bring people in just as much as the first one. But most importantly, I need to recapture characters that I have already created and let the reader see more. This is the topic I am going to be addressing today. I want to share a little bit about what I am learning in the early stages of starting the sequel to Chasing Fae.

Lesson #1: Keep Details and Initial Personalities Consistent.

Readers have seen Grace move throughout the Three Realms for over three hundred pages, and they have a distinct idea of who she is and the kind of decisions she tends to make. When the second book begins, I don’t want to stray too far from that, at least in the first chapter. I feel like it’s important to re-ground your reader in the main characters you have already introduced, particularly the protagonist. I enjoy books that take a moment to subtly reacquaint the reader with where they are, who they are with, and when the story is picking up from before diving in only a couple of pages later. I am hoping that I will be able to accomplish that with the beginning of Chasing War.

Lesson #2: But Don’t Forget Your Characters Need To Have New Arcs.

In Chasing Fae, both Grace and Aiden went through visible major shifts as people from the beginning to the end of the story. Those two arcs were closed, not to be reopened again. Instead, I have to now take both of those characters to new places and work in new character development. It isn’t enough to show them in their newfound state from the end of book 1; as an author, you have to reintroduce new challenges and states of mind that will push your characters to transform in unique ways. And remember, that transformation should be as varied and complex as the first time around. Grace had quite a few failures that brought her development as a person backwards before she found ways to push forward. I plan on doing more of that to keep things interesting.

Lesson #3: Elaborate On Secondary Characters.

In a sequel, it is important to take some time and explore those secondary characters who will continue to be instrumental in the overall series arc. I am so excited to build on those characters who took on small to medium sized roles in Chasing Fae. I have so many fantastic plans for bringing a couple of those people into the main plotline and giving them a full arc for readers to explore alongside Grace’s.

Lesson #4: Introducing New Characters Is A Must.

It matters just as much to create entirely new characters as it does to elaborate on the characters that are already present. Many of the secondary characters that will be showcased in book 2 were mentioned briefly in name only or perhaps had a very small cameo near the end. I am not sure if I consider writing them to be elaborating on previously established people because there is so much that the readers do not know about them. I might even consider them to be brand new characters for people to fall in love with. But on top of that, I do plan on bringing in one or two solid unheard-of-before-this-book characters to make sure that I get that element of fresh blood in the sequel.

These are my preliminary observations as I work on drafting. I may update this as I learn more through my writing. Until then, happy writing everyone!

An Interview With Roy Huff

Roy Huff

Roy Huff is a Hawaii-based best-selling author, peer-reviewed research scientist, and teacher. After overcoming significant childhood adversity, he moved to the islands and hasn’t looked back. He’s since earned five degrees, trained on geostationary satellites for NASA’s GOES-R Proving Ground, and written numerous bestsellers. He stumbled into writing, but what he didn’t stumble into is his love for all things science fiction and fantasy. Later, he contributed a series of fiction and non-fiction books as well as widely shared posts on how to design life on your terms. Despite early challenges, he embraces optimism, science, and creativity. He makes Hawaii his home, where he creates new worlds with the stroke of a pen and hopes you’ll come along for the amazing ride. I recently had the opportunity to do an interview with him, and I am so excited to share his answers with you.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Writing wasn’t something I grew up wanting to do. It happened by accident when I was
working on my fourth and fifth degree. I had to write a creative paper for an English
class, and one of the students who read the paper said she wanted to read a whole
book on Everville. That became my first book and series.

What does your fantasy writing process look like? What do you find the most effective? What do you find the most difficult? 

I used to marathon write. Now I write in smaller doses but more frequently. Typically, I
write in the morning after my daily journaling. I write in quiet, without distractions while
drinking coffee. I also tend to write new content in the morning and edit in the afternoon.

What is one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

It’s never good enough, so you have to be willing to have the courage to publish. You
must be committed to improving, and it helps to get comfortable with rejection and
negative reviews and feedback.

What is your best worldbuilding tip?

Include all the senses. Read what others have written, and practice your craft.

How many books have you written?

I’ve published four fiction and one nonfiction. That number will be up to five fiction on
July 2 nd , and six fiction likely in August. I also have a first draft of the final book in the
Everville series. At the moment of this interview, I’ve published five books in total and
written seven. I’m currently working on my eighth book.

Can you tell us about your latest project? What inspired you to write it?

I’m currently expected to publish a time travel book, Seven Rules of Time Travel, in mid to late July. Additionally, I just put out the books 1-4 box set of Everville. The Everville series
started from that single creative writing paper. But the time travel book has a lot to do
with my love for both science fiction and fantasy.

I grew up in very challenging circumstances. Both my father and grandfather died young
under tragic circumstances. I struggled under abuse and poverty for much of my
childhood. Fantasy and books were an escape. Thinking about escaping into other
worlds or being able to have knowledge of the future and do things over again was a
way to cope with ongoing trauma.

Who is your favorite author and why?

That’s a question I cannot answer. It’s like asking what’s my favorite food or place to
visit. There are so many, and singling out one would not do the others justice. I’m big on
J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, George Orwell, and others.

How do you market your books? How much interaction do you have with your
readers?

I engage fans on Twitter @realroyhuff and Facebook. I also have a mailing list, where I
email fans periodically about projects and interesting facts and interests in my life at
https://www.royhuff.net I also do periodic promotions, like the massive June 18 th Free
Kindle promo of Everville: The Fall of Brackenbone and the 99 cents Kindle Countdown
Deal for Everville books 1-4 boxed set. I will be taking top spots on Amazon, so be there
or be square.

What words of wisdom do you have for young people who want to start writing
their first book? 

Show up, publish, iterate. Read what others have done. Find a mentor if possible.
Develop constructive habits and a routine. Reflect on your routine. Find ways to focus
and strive to improve that focus. If you get stuck, write anything, but keep writing. Don’t
let others tell you whether you should write to market or write what you want. You can
do both. Do what you want to do. Even if you don’t’ believe in yourself, have the
courage to show up and write anyway. Everyone starts somewhere. Some people may
believe it talent, but talent is just skill. And skill can be developed with deliberate
practice, reflection, and mentorship.

Check out Roy Huff’s books, and follow him on social media!

Social Media

Instagram & Twitter @realroyhuff 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/realroyhuff

Website: https://www.royhuff.net/salvationship

Promotions This Week!

Everville: The Fall of Brackenbone: Free (June 18-June 22)

Everville Boxed Set Books 1-4: 99 cents (US & UK, June 18-24)

Buy links

Everville: The Fall of BrackenboneAmazon

Everville Books 1-4 Boxed Set

Tips For Character Building

I’m back! I took some time off there to celebrate my mom’s and my boyfriend’s birthdays as well as to finish revisions for Chasing Fae. Last night, I submitted my book for copyediting, and it is one of the most exciting things I have ever experienced. At first, I was really nervous because after this, I can no longer change any content of the book. But now I am realizing that Chasing Fae is ready. It’s ready to be seen by the world, and the story is just perfect the way it is. I can’t wait to see how copyediting turns out!

Now that Book 1 is wrapping up officially, it is time to look towards Book 2. And for me, that means creating new characters and new storylines. Over the past couple days, I have been working on a few secondary characters who will play some major roles in the remaining two books of the trilogy. While I was working on those, I ended up explaining to a writer friend of mine how I like to approach my character building and my thought process during that stage. I thought I would share those thoughts with you today.

Tip #1: Consider your character’s flaws before their strengths.

One of the things that every strong character needs is well defined flaws. Without them, your characters will feel flat and unrealistic. While talking to a writer friend, I have figured out that I like to figure out my character’s flaws before I think about their strengths. Take Grace, for example. Some of her biggest flaws involve prejudice against the Fae, stubbornness, and an inability to trust after her brother’s death. These were flaws that directly related to the plot that I had in mind. All of these components were necessary for the story to progress and for Grace to transform by the end.

When I thought about Grace’s flaws, I felt like they easily lent themselves to finding corresponding strengths. While Grace has a heavy inability to trust, it also means that in the relationships that she engages in, she is extremely loyal. If someone meets her high threshold for trust, she is going to put her faith in them and protect them at all costs. Her narrow-minded thinking in terms of her hate for the Fae allows her to be a very comprehensive planner and disciplined in her training. She doesn’t want to take any unnecessary risks in her mission. This also connects with her stubbornness.

It is an interesting approach, but I have had good results from it, I think!

Tip #2: Don’t be afraid to really get to know your characters, even the little things.

I really enjoy getting inside my characters’ heads. I love to see what they have learned over their lives and what makes them tick. In my opinion, as a writer, it is important to sit down and truly speak with your characters. Ask them questions: not just about the big things, but about the little things too.

I like to give my characters birthdays, and more importantly, to align those birthdays with their zodiac sign. Sometimes I can pull traits from the description associated with those zodiac signs to add another layer to my characters. I’ll ask my characters all sorts of small things like their favorite color, their favorite foods, their favorite games growing up, etc. These details may not be relevant to your story, and in fact, your readers may never see this information at all. But I find that the characters feel more real when they have interests and hates and quirks that define who they are.

Tip #3: Backstory is so important.

One of the comments that I kept hearing from my editors was that there was a decent amount of space to include more backstory. Knowing your characters’ backstories helps to put everything in context for your readers. Understanding where Grace had been and what she cares about from her past moves the entire story forward and clarifies her motivations in a clear way. Backstory has to be incorporated throughout your book in conversations and in your character’s inner thoughts revealing themselves (most likely your protagonist). And you can incorporate a lot more into your book than you might think. Not so much that it consumes the actual plot, but enough to give your readers a sense of where your characters came from. So it is important to create a strong foundational past for your characters. Make sure to dedicate some significant focus to that area, and you should be just fine.

That is all of my insight for the day! Happy writing, everyone.

Writing Fight Scenes

After going through my first round of revisions with my editor, I finally feel reasonably competent enough to discuss this subject! Whether it is a simple one-on-one scuffle or a full-scale battle, fight scenes are pretty integral to the fantasy genre. They make up some of the most memorable scenes that your reader will return to over and over again, if done right. Each scene should be approached with care to ensure that the scene feels natural, but intense. Today, I want to share with you my best tips to approaching a fight scene on any scale.

Tip #1: All fight scenes must move your plot and character development forward in some way. Do not include them just to have them.

Enough said.

Tip #2: Make sure you know your players.

Who is involved in this fight? Is it two people, or several, or a large multitude of characters? The more players you have, the more complex your battle is going to be. Before you even think about drafting this scene, think about each character and their fighting style. This is influenced by their size, any weapons training they may have or lack, if they are magical, etc. I also like to take into account my character’s emotions at the time. Are they fired up and ready to attack? Are they trying to escape from something, and this is the fight of their lives? There are often multiple emotions swirling around at once: fear, adrenaline, determination, heartbreak. As a writer, you have to balance these factors as you approach the actual physical process of the fight.

Tip #3: Consider the battlefield and the available resources.

Where is this fight taking place? The battle dynamics will be very different if it is taking place in an open field rather than a forest. Consider what cover is available and where would be the best place for an army to retreat to. When it comes to resources, you need to do some research into what kind of weaponry the characters involved in your fight are using. Each type of weapon comes with its benefits and its drawbacks, and in a big battle, the writer ends up showing a lot of both sides. If this is a fight between two armies, they each may have their own combat style as a group with those weapons. This requires you to understand your world’s history. Who knew so much background research could go into a battle?

Tip #4: Break down the chaos.

In actuality, a battle may only last a few minutes, or it could go on for days. Both of these situations require the writer to break down the moments into digestible pieces for the reader to absorb. That being said, by doing so, a few minutes can stretch out for pages and pages. So it is important to pick the moments to showcase and the times to step back and see more of the complete picture at once. Every movement should be written in an active voice. Make your reader feel every slash and connection of a sword to another’s body or their own. Describe the atmosphere: is the air thick with the smell of blood or smoke? The most important thing to do is to keep things active, descriptive, and fast-paced without making it too manic. Convey the chaos of the fight and the whirlwind of weaponry, bodies, and emotion without letting it all blend together too much.

I may modify this article as I move forward with writing the first draft of my sequel, which involves much more battles than the first. I am looking forward to it!

Happy writing!

The Importance of Balance

It is absolutely crazy to be going through revisions again!

The entire process has been a whirlwind so far, even though I’m only five chapters in to my revisions as of the time of writing this post. Every time I work through a chapter on my own, it comes back with lots of wonderful comments and markings from my editor, Kristy. She asks lots of questions that makes me think about which sections to elongate and which to elaborate on. Every chapter has new notes to work through, and I’m actually really excited that some are starting to make me sit down and take the time to puzzle them out. Revising takes time. A lot of time. Mixing schoolwork and revising and promoting the presale campaign can be challenging at times, but I really couldn’t be more thrilled doing it.

The most interesting thing about the revisions so far has been the discovery that I held myself back! As a first time author, I was determined to not make any of the pitfalls in my drafts. I wanted to keep my backstories concise and not excessive and make sure I wasn’t describing every new character’s appearance in too much detail. I wanted to make the setting immersive, but not so descriptive that the book feels like more description than plot.

But suddenly, both my editors told me that I could be adding more! I could be doing more! All of that information that I had held back in my notes and kept from my draft can start to be integrated into the book!

Do you have any idea how exciting that is?!

So, as I am learning all of these exciting things myself, let me give you a few tips about what areas are okay to elaborate on, as long as you keep a good balance.

Area One: Character Descriptions

When I was working on Chasing Fae, I was very concerned about mentioning my characters’ appearances. I knew that while it was important to ground your reader through physical description, it had to be done in such a way that it didn’t feel formulaic. You know: hair, eye color, height, etc. all in a few sentences stashed near the introduction of the character. So I actually spread out my physical descriptions over a couple of chapters.

It turns out I did need to rework some of that, particularly for my main characters in order to give more of a physical sense much earlier. Also, it is actually really important to ground your small secondary and tertiary characters with some sort of visual element so your readers can visualize. The more I see the note, the more I begin to recognize the importance of it.

Area Two: Setting

Each moment in space and time can be talked about, even if it is only a couple of sentences. Every time there is a distinct transition in location, I find myself seeing more notes about taking a breath and letting my readers know where we are and what it looks like, what it smells like, what it feels like. I find that I need to work on expanding my writing on the different senses. I am good at talking about what my characters are seeing and what they are feeling in particular, like a light breeze or the sun bearing down on them. But I could use some work on what my characters are hearing and smelling. It doesn’t need to be in every description of a setting, but I think it does add another layer to the reader’s sense of place in your book.

Area Three: Pacing and Layering

One of the most significant compliments that I received on my manuscript from my Acquisitions editor was that my level of tension throughout the book was spot on. However, I am starting to realize that just because your tension is right doesn’t mean there isn’t more to work on in terms of pacing. My editor has pointed out to me several times over the first few chapters that there are moments where I can slow it down a little bit. I can add a few more paragraphs to clarify setting or character backstory and motivation or just take a moment to let everybody take a breath. My book is on the low end of the young adult fantasy genre’s typical word count (80k), so I have a decent amount of room to work with. The story has space for more layers, and I am finding new ways to add fresh life to Chasing Fae.

I hope that this inspires you to loosen yourself up a little bit with your descriptions in your writing. There is space! And if there isn’t, trust me, someone will tell you. Happy writing, everyone!

What To Consider When Starting A Sequel

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Hello everyone! I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe during this chaotic time in the world. My family and I have been practicing social distancing for the last week now, and we have been doing the best we can to fill up the time. I have been working on lots of outreach this week for my preorders as well as starting the sequel to Chasing Fae, tentatively titled Chasing War. I have also been spending lots of time with my sister playing board games and working on some creative projects together. Online classes start on Monday, and it’s definitely going to be… interesting. I hope everything turns out alright.

Today, I want to talk a little bit of my experience in starting this sequel and some tips on how to start your second book as a continuation of the story in your first. I think it’s an interesting topic that I haven’t touched on yet in terms of working with a fantasy series.

Starting Chasing War

I have tried to start this sequel three times since I finished Chasing Fae. Which is pretty amusing to me because based on the outline I’ve created, this book of the trilogy is probably going to be my favorite to write. The first time was during NaNoWriMo where I got extremely ill and ended up having to cancel my attempt while I recovered. The second time, I ended up having intense midterm exams and papers that all coincided with each other. Finally, I’m having an opportunity to write during this period of isolation at home. But even now, I’m having a little trouble.

I think the simple explanation is that somehow I’ve forgotten what it’s like to write the first draft. Which brings me to my first major tip of writing your first sequel:

Don’t Forget That The First Draft Will Not Look Like Your FINISHED First Book.

The first draft is inherently flawed. And that’s okay! That’s more than okay! The first draft is about having something solid to build off of and modify and evolve into something incredible. Try to remember that your first book takes months and months and maybe even years to complete. The first draft will not represent the extent of what you can produce. Remember that. I’m trying to!

Your sequel should have its own arc.

While your sequel does build off the previous book, each book needs to have its own unique arc that gets wrapped up by the end of the story. Remember, your reader wants to see something new out of your characters and out of your universe. Your main character needs to take another transformative journey and evolve as a person. You will see the world in your novel change, sometimes in subtle ways and other times in dramatic times like the outbreak of war or a widespread disaster. Feel free to let your imagination run wild!

Bring New Characters To The Table

Time to create new voices! One of the best parts about writing a sequel, in my opinion, is to add new characters to the mix. There is always a new character or group of characters that comes in and shakes things up. Personally, I have a whole host of new voices that are going to change everything for Grace, and they are going to cause a LOT of trouble. Trust me.

Don’t be afraid to start something new. Happy writing, everybody!

Oh! And if you haven’t checked out my preorder campaign for my debut novel, Chasing Fae, please click here to learn more!

Writing Endings

Alright, it’s time for me to get back to writing about fantasy writing! One of the most important elements of a novel that you have to nail is your ending. Your beginning pulls readers in, and your plot and your characters keep the reader engaged for the subsequent book. But your ending has got to bring everything home. A bad ending on a great book will leave a sour taste in the reader’s mouth. Trust me, I’ve been there. Even if you love the book, there’s something about a poor ending that can erase part of that happiness.

So, the ending is pretty important. Today, I want to talk about what it means to finish a book well and a few tips that I’ve picked up while writing Chasing Fae.

Finish Your Plot.

This seems like it should be obvious, but it warrants saying anyway for several reasons. Your ending has to wrap up the main storyline. You have to finish the main plot arc of the book regardless of whether you are continuing on the storyline in a sequel. A definitive end must be visible for your reader, or you may leave them wanting. You should also consider your subplots. If it’s a standalone story, everything must end. If you plan on having a sequel or several sequels, then in my personal opinion, subplots should come to a natural stopping place. It doesn’t have to be a positive place; for example, you can end a relationship in a tumultuous position. But I think that it’s important for readers to feel like there’s a clear pause.

Make sure your ending makes sense.

Your ending should feel natural. It’s perfectly acceptable to wrap up the main plot and then have a scene or two afterwards that allows the characters to simmer down to normalcy or the new normal after the climax. Let’s see the aftermath of the character’s decisions over the course of the book. What has to change in order for the world around them to stabilize? Does the world stabilize, or is this the beginning of a new conflict? If your main character’s world calms down, write about how they feel now that the adventure is over. Who is in their life now to stay? Who has disappeared? If your ending is going to lead into a new conflict in a subsequent book, your readers want to see the inklings of that rising. Offer some hints into what is to come, even super vague ones. One of my favorite books of all time, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, has an amazing ending that was a little strange and intriguing reading it the first time. And then when you read the second book, about midway through, I suddenly went “OH! EVERYTHING MAKES SENSE NOW! THIS IS AMAZING!” *subsequent reader screaming*. Experiment with your ending. Write it a few different ways and see what you like best. Get other writers’ or readers’ opinions.

Show Your Protagonist In All Their Glory.

Your ending does not have to showcase a triumphant moment. Your protagonist could be suffering after a horrible loss. The most important role of your ending is to show how your main character has grown internally over the course of the novel. Whether you are depicting victory and resolution or defeat and the construction of a new plan, your character’s emotions will show up on the page. In a victory situation, you will see happiness or you may see them step into a new role in their lives. There may be an aura of calm about them that is totally different from what the reader has seen over the course of the novel. In a defeat situation, there’s a lot of anger and sadness and fear, and you have a real opportunity to lay out your character’s innermost thoughts. You can attest to their stubbornness and their determination and as a writer, strongly convey that pivotal decision to get up and try again in the next book. I personally love both kinds of endings, but especially the latter. You want to know if the protagonist will get what they deserve out of life. As a reader, I crave it; I absolutely have to know. And that’s what keeps me reading and keeps me buying the next book in a series.

Happy writing, everyone.