First off, "Rachel" you won your choice of Jill Williamson's books, but there's no email address for you. Can you please send me an email?
We are almost done talking through the ins and outs of the first draft, and then we'll move on to editing. I'm super excited, because I like the first draft process, but I looooove editing.
Quick recap of the last couple weeks. We've talked about how long a book should be, making dialogue natural, finding your writing voice, and beating off those first draft blues, which tend to strike in the last half of the book.
So today we're going to talk about how to write a satisfying conclusion. In short - it's all about the black moment.
The black moment is when all hope is lost. It's when your main character's greatest fear has happened, the lie they believe about themselves has never seemed truer, and they can't see their way out of this mess.
In Pride & Prejudice, it's when Lydia has run away with Mr. Wickham and Elizabeth feels in her heart that Mr. Darcy is lost to her forever.
In Me, Just Different it's when Skylar's mom has left, her dad has given up hope of her returning, Connor went back on a promise, Abbie has run away, and now she's discovered her boyfriend is cheating on her.
In It's a Wonderful Life, it when George Bailey realizes he's "worth more dead than alive" and stands at the bridge contemplating suicide.
I know it can be hard to let your character suffer, but without the black moment, your conclusion will feel flat. Because if you haven't brought your character to their knees, if you haven't shown them how bad it can be, then they'll lack appreciation of everything working out okay in the end. And so will your reader.
So look at your manuscript and ask, what is my character most afraid of? What would it hurt most to lose? Then make it happen.
A book isn't a book without conflict, but lots of writers struggle with the black moment. They love their main character and don't want to torture them. What about you? Do you have a tough time "tormenting" your beloved main character?