"Novels must start and end with a strong line." These words from Calvin Miller have been haunting me these last few days. Although I first wrote them down years ago at a writers conference, I am just getting to that place where they are relevant to my own writing career.
My first finished draft of my novel was completed not long after I attended the conference. His words had already been forgotten by then. That same novel has undergone a HARD re-write and is now being beta tested. Maybe that is why the words are haunting my mind.
START and END with a strong line!
I know what he is saying here. I need to make an impression with the reader that will make him or her choose my book over the millions of other choices available. I then have to leave them wanting more - not because I left them hanging but because I left them satisfied and excited about what would come next.
From Foundation to Roof
The first line is the foundation of the story. It provides the blocks that will allow the story to develop and form in a way that the readers will enjoy and appreciate. Some people will never make it past a crooked foundation to see the amazing world just beyond the doors.
The last line caps the story and gives it the finish that will let a reader settle back and be satisfied that he or she picked up the book in the first place. It may also give them a hunger to see more of the creations from the artist. Some people will refuse to return if the roof leaves them feeling uncomfortable or unsettled.
The more I work on my novel the more work I know I have to do on my novel. I need a hook that reels in the readers but I also need a close that will make them thankful that they experienced the words.
I am not there, but admitting there is a problem is the first step to getting it right.