Today, we will be looking at completing the story.
Having considered my protagonist, his allies, the antagonist, building the narrative with smaller goals to achieve the objective, adding conflict between the characters as well as the major conflict, and having successfully covered Acts 1 and 2, I was in the middle of Act 3, knowing the story was almost complete.
Once I had developed my story ideas and put meat on the bones of the story, The Strongest Man Alive, I realised that its completion had to cover all elements. That the resolution had to address all the problems that had been raised, and this did not simply cover the concept of defeating the protagonist.
To fully complete the story, to ensure that the reader had a fantastic journey, every doubt, dream, ambition or fear had to be laid to rest, or achieved. To be sure, this does not happen in every story. But for me, given that the story ran for a few hundred pages, I needed to be sure that everything was covered. No room for “if’s or but’s or how’s”
While in my opinion no writer can fully satisfy the ideas or thought processes of the readers with regards to characters or plots, or even be sure that the resolutions achieved meet with expectations, certainly the resolutions have to be met.
So what did I consider?
- Character growth. Our protagonist has been through a series of adventures and had to suffer and watch others suffer the same fate, if not worse. By the end, he would be a changed man.
- Inner resolution. Any personal demons or qualms or concerns deep within his subconscious would be resolved by the end of Act 3.
- Each small objective. Each of the obstacles which helped build the narrative would be addressed in one way or another.
- Friends of our protagonist – their aspirations or fears. Just as with our protagonist, each aspiration or fear had to be met in some way, resolved to some degree if not fully.
- Conflict between friends. Whatever differences which originally existed between Nevadon and his allies, or whatever problems arose between them, in their course of their mission, would be resolved. If not in its entirety, then at least partially. An understanding at the very least would be achieved.
- Answering the question. This can be considered to be part of the first question or obstacle. Where are the people in the village? This has to be emphatically answered, as it was the initial catalyst of the whole journey.
- Defeating the adversary. This is the ultimate goal and must be addressed satisfactorily, at least comprehensively. The readers would have gone through a few hundred pages to get here. While there is no gun for this fantasy, a simple, single swipe of the blade to end him or it, would not do. In completing this resolution, as part of the story, I considered the strength and resources of the villain, and all the obstacles that he/it was able to put in place. Consider the real life character of Napoleon (not to suggest he is necessarily a villain – conquerors, saviours or tyrants are named depending on which side of the fence you’re on); he had practically conquered all western Europe. The Duke of Wellington alone was never ever going to defeat him. Nor would it be in a simple battle. See what I mean?
- How the experiences had changed the survivors. I did not go into too much detail here, but it was addressed. If you’d been held captive for weeks – and depending on your captor, and the type of environment you were in, and how you were treated – you’d be changed too. Your outlook based on your experiences would have changed.
- Bringing all these elements together. Whether a sequel is being considered depends greatly on the answers to these questions, how indeed the characters have developed, how they feel within themselves and towards their allies, their villains and fellow man. But at least this would be stated.
- By answering these questions, I completed the journey of our characters, and this being my personal plot-driven extravaganza, I opted to end this on a positive note.
But that was lesson 10.
- My lesson 10
- In completing the story, be sure to address all questions posed throughout the story and show how this has affected all the major characters as they finally resolved their issues.
- Next week, in part 11 we shall be looking at story versus the screenplay.