Saturday, July 3, 2010


One of the friends in my writers group finished reading his book. Took a year and a half, but it was exciting to reach the end. Another friend finished his thriller last month. A third member finished a wonderful short story. All were exciting and satisfying in their own way.

The challenge, as a writer, the group presents is being a constructive critic. It’s easy to be a cheerleader. It takes trust to point to another's weakness, and acceptance to hear my own.

We celebrate each other; commiserate over a character’s loss, brainstorm plot issues, and switch persona from writer to reader as we each tell our tales.

My lesson: The story we finished I had been following as an adventure story- a rogue DEA agent sails off on his own, takes out some bad guys, is chased, steals the bad guys money and gets away with it. As I pondered the last reading this week I realized I missed the real story. The protagonist fell from grace, slipped into the Dark Side, and sailed away into a lonely sunset of his miserable life.

Sometime the ending is Ellery Queen explaining the subtle clues of the mystery; sometime the heroine kills the monster; sometimes the hero saves the world from destruction. Sometimes it’s just a human who tries and almost succeeds.

The unexpected ending is the most satisfying for the reader.

No comments:

Post a Comment