December is a fantastic time of year to reflect on what you have achieved in the last twelve months as a writer or illustrator. As it’s the end of the year, South East Scotland's members arrived in Edinburgh on Saturday 6 December ready to discuss our topic, 'Not the last word in endings'.
By Sarah Broadley
Joined by published authors Keith Gray and Christina Banach, we racked their brains about their endings and the processes they use to get there. Christina uses James Scott Bell's PLOT & STRUCTURE. A fantastic book, slowly helping you carve your way though what can seem a never-ending road, this is also the work Christina drew from when guiding our very first SES teach-in last October on plotting (http://www.wordsandpics.org/2013/11/network-news-scbwi-south-east-scotland.html). Christina noted that looking at your novel in a more unconventional way might also help - write the end first or start from the middle (another Bell work Christina recommends is WRITE FROM THE MIDDLE).
As we went round the room, we talked about our own personal experiences on writing and we all have different ways of getting there. So, if you have reached the point of no return and it's only downhill from here to the last page then...take your time, optimise the ending and Clang Like A Bell! Christina reminded us of the favourite Micky Spillane quote that Bell likes to share: “The first page sells that book. The last page sells your next book.” (See more on Bell and endings here)
Final emotion for the reader
Emotions were also the order of the day. A fascinating question for any writer was posed by new SES member Carol Jones - what emotions do you want your reader to go through when they read your book, and what’s the final feeling you’d like to convey? Sad, elated, nervous, fearful, anxious, happy, joy?
As we all come from different walks of life, we discussed how we all see the characters forming in our minds. Have you ever thought about your book in colour? What would it look like? What shape would it be? Thanks to member Linda MacMillan for that insight.
In addition to the Bell works mentioned above, books discussed this meeting include THE BUNKER DIARY, HUNGER GAMES, THINNER, A BOY A BEAR AND A BOAT and THE FOREST OF HAND & TEETH.
This was our farewell to 2014 and everything that has gone before. We have been a busy network with book launches, agents acquired, NaNoWriMo success, Scottish Book Trust Awards and so much more. Look out for more from SES in 2015, including our spectacular Nicola Morgan event on 14 March 2015, Perfecting your Agent or Publisher submission. Bookings for that are open now – do join us if you can: https://britishisles.scbwi.org/events/edinburgh-nicola-morgan-on-perfecting-your-agent-or-publisher-submission/
All the best to you all,
South East Scotland
Sarah Broadley joined SCBWI BI in July 2013 and has recently taken on the role of picture book Eyes & Ears and PB & MG critique group organiser for BI South East Scotland. She recently attended her first SCBWI conference in November 2014 which gave her the push she needed to stop procrastinating and just get on with it!
Sarah normally writes rhyming stories for younger readers, however she finds herself throwing caution to the wind and is currently working on an 11+ that has been keeping her awake in the wee small hours.