The Writer, Narrative, and Evolution…

Make up a story. Narrative is radical, creating us at every moment it is being created.
Toni Morrison (Accountable:  Making America as Good as Its Promise by Tavis Smiley)

These words gripped me the first time I read them. That was over a week ago. In the days since, I have repeated and shared them with others.

Each time I speak them their meaning, the truth of purpose and process of what I do as a writer, the depth of impression left by the work I do, enlarges.

As writers we are constantly remaking ourselves through the words we write, the stories we tell, the plots we weave and unbraid.

The ending of a story or novel has a few basic requirements that we must meet in order to achieve minimal, if not maximum, reader satisfaction and enjoyment.

Whether the conclusion of our story involves a tightly woven resolution of all dilemmas presented, or in resolving the present conflicts we at the same time raise new questions, readers must know whether and how the central character fared after all was said and done.

We, the writer, must give our readers some sense of whether she or he, the protagonist survived and if so, how that affected her or his life, how they now feel about things, and what, perhaps, they might or will seek to do next.

Perhaps she or he will do nothing. They will spend their future integrating the experiences of the story into their present life and living.

Whatever the case, the reader needs to know what happened after the crisis, or arc of action in the story.

The narrative cannot end after the major battle.

If it does, readers surely feel cheated.

And yet for writers, writing the ending of the rough draft of a story or novel, committing it to paper and/or screen is just the beginning.

Writing the ending in the first or rough draft of a novel marks the commencement of gaining an understanding of what the story is all about.

Oftentimes what we thought was the central theme of our story is but a minor aspect to the central underlying thread of thought propelling the plot and driving the emotions behind the narrative.

Subsequent revisions show us the true character of not only the work itself, but of the underlying message, the story within the story, what actually drew us to write the narrative.

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~ by Anjuelle Floyd on March 29, 2010.

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