This phrase is used so metaphorically these days, we writers almost lose our grasp of its significance in our world!
And yet it is our world, our very breath of life.
As an editor my opinion is where we end our chapters is more important than where we begin; even though, of course, that initial first sentence is crucial too. The end, however, is what keeps the pages turning. Without that, we are lost.
So, fellow writers, take that book you’re working on and flip back through the ending of your chapters. Does it compel you to go on, to turn the pages in excited anticipation?
Another exercise that is very useful to authors of all genres, fiction and nonfiction, is to grab a book, published or unpublished, that you wrote some time ago. Perhaps even your first book? Look at the Chapter endings and the beginnings as well. I think you will be amazed at how far you have come as a writer. If not, then this is something you need to address.
Just some advice on the Tricks-of-the-Trade that aren’t tricks at all … just good writing practices for all levels of writers.
I am available through my blog and comments area for any questions on the fundamentals of writing, editing, formatting, and publishing advice.
Oil painting by Mary Eunice Bowman (copyrighted 2016)
Seeing through an artist’s eye
Opened a new world for me
As an author, I was penning the big scene
Forgetting bits of glory I should see
To create word paintings in delicate sighs
Of rich colors, graphic words, short strokes of awe
I see because of my artist mother; thanks Ma!
I’ve loved books, all kinds of books, from an early age. I love the feel of them, the weight of them, the promises and secrets they hold. I’ve seen a myriad of changes to books in my 20+ years of editing, newspaper writing and paste-up, and especially reading for my own enjoyment. I’ve read the classics and the quirky, the long and short, the profound and ridiculous. I’ve also seen trends change and writing evolve with each new generation.
Books and subjects tend to come in droves with similar information or fictional storylines. We went through formulated plotlines in romance where the author filled in a template, not deviating from the script. Now, it’s almost anything goes, and rules and formulas have fallen by the wayside. Here’s some recent trends that are taking over the industry:
Imaginative, unique cover designs, even on textbooks and nonfiction biographies, motivational/inspirational, and business books. Full-color covers with eye-catching designs.
Chapters no longer have chapter titles for fiction. Used to be a creative struggle to come up with catchy phrases that didn’t give away the next twist or turn in the plot, but not be vague either.
Short sentences; short paragraphs, and short, quick-to-read chapters or sections. The average reader wants to hurry through action-packed stories in the time it takes to ride the subway, bus, or carpool to work. Large books are daunting, heavy to carry, and overwhelming. eReaders have helped with the weight problem, but quick-reads are probably here to stay.
Series books are very popular, in short installments.
Dystopian futuristic disasters and fantasy books are in demand.
Erotica is not only out in the open, but explicit and HOT!
Confession nonfiction stories of lifestyle is available from celebrities and notorious villains.
Different point of views are assigned to each character in fiction with experimentation in 1st person present or narrated 1st person past tense instead of 3rd person past tense, where the author has access to all the characters’ feelings and thoughts simultaneously.
Political and historical nonfiction is written in dramatized novel-type language and flair.
The world has changed and so has our reading material.
Writers are filling shelves and tablets with new creative ideas. Something for everyone. We have turned a page in books and media.
Gone are the days of yesteryear.
Gone are smiles, miles, tears and fears.
We of the present can learn from history.
Those of the future will fulfill our destiny.
The past comes alive as sins and wins are repeated.
Triumphs are heralded; Foes are defeated.
If only we could stop the challenges.
If only we could heighten the balances.
It makes me wonder as I ponder,
If all on earth have wandered
These paths before in yesteryear
And have returned with our hopes and fears.
History repeats itself,
But we remain ourselves
Through thick and thin, but in different skins.
Reacting the same way as we begin
Lifetimes in new bodies, when we are given
A chance to redeem our numerous sins
Or spread truth and love, strong and sage,
As we enter life in a future age.
Will I live again
Or is this the end?