Where to End Part 1

by Liza

Hi Glen, I asked the question re: different POVs for Part 1 and Part 2. On a slightly related note, I'm not absolutely certain at what point to end Part 1 of the book.

Note, that when the two characters meet up again in Part 2, I don't want either of them or the readers to know what happened to them much after the tragic event, which is the climax of Part 1. Part 2 is going to be all about slow revelations.

Given that, can I end Part 1 immediately following the tragic event? Without any hint of how the characters were affected by it? Or would it be better to allow for some kind of resolution and have another scene or chapter dealing with the immediate after-effects, while still allowing for a bit of mystery?

Thanks again for your advice.

Answer: Hi Liza,

The general principle is to leave the reader wanting more.

If you think of the structure of any dramatic event as...

setup --> complication --> crisis --> resolution

... what you have to bear in mind is that most resolutions are not "endings" but points where the story changes direction.

For instance, taking a story as a whole, the plot usually begins with something that disturbs the world order -- a new motivation is unleashed, an injustice or imbalance is created, or perhaps a new threat arises. So that is a change in direction. The ultimate resolution changes the direction or state of the story world again, for instance by creating a new balance (which is not exactly the same as the old one). "Happy ever after" is a new direction. So is "the rest is silence."

The plot consists of a series of smaller events, and the resolution of each smaller event sends the story/characters in a new direction. The only difference is that these resolutions should make the reader curious to see what happens next, whereas the final resolution leaves the reader satisfied that all is balanced properly.

When you're dividing a story in two, the logical place to do so is at the end of act two, where everything has become complicated. The 3rd driver (at the end of act two) should be an event that will leave the reader wondering what on earth these characters will do to resolve the problem -- and it should be clear that they need to move in a new direction. I'm guessing this is your tragic event. You might consider that the resolution or outcome of that event is the character(s)'s decision to undertake a new direction.

The "mystery" (actually suspense) is "How will he/she/they manage it?" The answer, I'm guessing, is that in act three they will start uncovering all the information they need to bring the story to a crisis.

Hope that helps.

Comments for Where to End Part 1

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Jul 24, 2015
Thank you
by: Liza

Got it, thanks so much for your response!

Aug 17, 2015
Could you do an article
by: Al

Could you do an article that talks about copyright? How do we avoid infringements when we cite other people's compilations over the internet? For example, what if I print-out a paragraph of our Catechism as it has been formatted (text, font, layout, etc.) over the internet by the Picayune, Mississippi, parish St.Charles Borromeo Catholic Church SCBCC. How do I attribute their work? I notice when I leave one portion of their Catechism site, and go to print a paragraph, that SCBCC's "case number" from the Vatican appears giving SCBCC permission to offer an eletronic version of the Catechism. So how do I properly attribute at that level? Thanks!

Aug 17, 2015
re: copyright
by: Glen

Thanks for the suggestion. Meanwhile, if you are looking for guidelines on how to cite other works, I suggest you get a copy of the MLA Handbook. Note that while you are allowed to use small quotations of other people's writing in an article, or make a personal copy for scholarly work, you are not allowed to print and distribute multiple copies without permission of the copyright owner -- especially if you are going to sell copies. In your example, clearly the Vatican has given your church permission to copy the catechism (which makes perfect sense). You are probably (note: probably) safe making a personal copy. Keep in mind that the point of copyright is to protect a writer's ability to make a living from their work and their moral rights over it (the right to be acknowledged as the creator, and the right to protect the integrity and association of the work).

As always, bear in mind that I am not a lawyer and nothing I write constitutes legal advice.

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