The Denouement

A Sorceress Enjoying a Good Read. By M.Q. Allen
What a sorceress would really do with her magic. Hopefully, that’s my story she’s reading.

It’s done. The first draft is finished. As with “The King is Dead! Long live the King!” the ending of a first draft is just the beginning of a lot more work but, for me anyway, it marks a significant change in the nature of the effort. Now it shifts from capture to refinement, although in this case, I need to expand one POV and add another so there is still a fair amount of capture to do. Even so, the book now has a solid skeleton: sculpting flesh isn’t the same as laying out the basic form. Both are fun, daunting though each are at the start.

This time I ended on a very short denouement, just 800 words. This is partly because as a first draft, I expect the tone to shift some as I refine the book and what the denouement needs to accomplish will have to shift accordingly, so why kill myself writing it, especially when I wasn’t that keen to write it. But both from writer’s resources and from critiquers, I’ve got the message to keep it short: too much after the climax can be a burden and an irritant for readers. My last book had an epilogue that some readers balked at. I’m still working on that book but the epilogue will either become an appendix or be omitted. This book, I think the ending will remain short and crisp.

As a last thought on this ending of the beginning (of the project), the FreeDictionary has the following etymology for denouement:

French dénouement, from Old French desnouement, an untying, from desnouer, to undo : des-, de- + nouer, to tie (from Latin ndre, from ndus, knot; see ned- in Indo-European roots).]

Makes me chuckle because I think of a denouement as a tying up of loss ends. But maybe the original French sense was “a release from the story” or “release from story tensions.”

Happy writing.

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