Malcolm Cowley

“Any fiction should be a story.”  I know this sounds pretty obvious, but some writers really struggle with this.  As a writer, it is your job to take the reader on an adventure and in the end have a resolution.  The ending is supposed to be different, but “if nothing has changed, it isn’t a story,” it’s just a lot of words.  I know this may seem harsh, but it’s the truth.  If nothing changes from the beginning to the end, then it’s not a true story; it may still be a story, but it won’t take the readers anywhere.  “In any story there are three elements: persons, a situation, and the fact that in the end something has changed.”  If you read any book, they all have these three elements.  Obviously, you have to create characters to move the plot forward.  And the situations are usually where the characters have to make a decision on where to go/what to do.  And in the end, something has got to be different.  Whether it’s a romance and in the beginning the character is dating someone, but in the end they’re not; that’s a change, but there has to be a point behind it.  Or in Harry Potter where in the beginning Harry just wants to be a normal boy, but in the end he realizes he has the power to save the entire world and does; that is a huge change.  Whether it’s big or small, try making a difference throughout the story.  But the difference starts with the situation.  The situation has to be described to a T so that the readers know exactly what choice the character(s) has to make.  If you just write “John had the option of going right or left” then there’s not much description behind it.  Where does going right lead, and what’s the consequence if he goes left?  You may know in the back of your mind what’s going to happen, but the readers have no idea, so you have to spell it out for them.  Make them curious and nervous about the choice that the character(s) has, and then in the end, make them glad about the resolution.  And trust me, it’s a lot easier said than done, but the only way to get better at it is to practice and keep writing.

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2 thoughts on “Malcolm Cowley

  1. genevafry says:

    Every time you write a piece, you will be changed. Everytime you finish writing a story, you are coming to a resolution within yourself, and like you said Katie, hopefully you will be glad with your own small resolution. : )

    Liked by 1 person

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