Tag Archives: challenge in writing

How do I end it all?

I have discovered the biggest challenge I have as a writer is how to end a story. I always admire other authors who can end a novel perfectly, sliding in to home base gracefully with a rousing cheer from the crowd. Meanwhile, I have the impression that as I’m racing from third base I start to stumble over my feet and fall flat on my face as I hit home. I then hop up as quickly as I can, dust myself off, and look around furtively to see how many people noticed.

I spend a lot of time trying to rewrite that fateful run.

The problem is not limited to novels. It can also include blogs. In the past, I even worried about how to end e-mails. At least, I have finally come up with a fail-safe method for those. The reliable ‘Have a nice day/evening/weekend’ is always well-received, often prompting the same ending when the e-mail is answered.

The problem with endings is that they can easily sound awkward. It’s like being at a party and not being sure how to make your exit.

First of all, it’s about timing. You don’t want to leave too early, because then you’ll be branded a party-pooper and a disappointment. On the other hand, you don’t want to be the last to depart, because the hosts will be rolling their eyes behind your back and wondering how to get you to shut up and leave. I have spent countless evenings trying to convince my spouse it’s time to go. But, I digress.

Secondly, it’s about how to say your goodbyes. Is a simple ‘Thanks, that was fun.’ sufficient? Should you put more feeling into it, with a hug and an exuberant ‘It was wonderful!’? Of course, it often depends on how well you know your hosts and, in some cases, how much alcohol has been consumed during the evening. You may not have any choice when it comes to the level of exuberance. But, again, I digress.

My point is, in my opinion, the ending of a piece of writing has the highest potential for awkwardness and I tip my hat to those who have mastered it. After all, it is when you and your reader go your separate ways and you want to leave them with a good impression.

So…um… I guess that’s it. Anyway, have a nice day (evening/weekend).

****A.J. McCarthy is the author of Betrayal being released in July 2015 by Second Wind Publishing.

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Interview with Susan Williamson, Author of “Turkmen Captives”

What is your book about?

My book, Turkmen Captives, is about a 30 year old Afghanistan War widow who is trying to make sense of her life when her home explodes and a mysterious letter causes her to question her husband’s death. I knew when I started the story that I wanted to deal with a widow from that war and that I wanted at least part of the story set in a country adjoining Afghanistan. As a horse person, I was drawn to Turkmenistan and its Akhel-Teke horses.
I also decided early on that the bad guys would be involved in human trafficking. The rest of the story happened as I wrote.

Why will readers relate to your characters?

I think readers my readers will be drawn by the action and the settings.Then I hope they will fall in love with the main characters.

What challenges did you face as you wrote this book?

My greatest challenge in writing the book came when in the middle of the process, I fell off my own horse and shattered my leg. One would think this would be a great opportunity for writing time, but it didn;t work out that way. Between pain and pain pills, exercise and the effort it took just to get through the day, I was not able to write. I did however read, usually at least one book a day. I will read almost anything if I have time on my hands, but for recreation I prefer mysteries and thrillers because I find so much other fiction to be without a plot.

How has your background influenced your writing?

It is easiest to write what you know, so my background growing up with horses and on a farm shapes my approach to writing about them. My faith, my sense of morality, my love of travel all play a part in my stories.

What is your writing process?

When I am writing I become totally involved, maybe immersed is an even better word. When I can put myself in the setting, then I find out what my characters would do and say. Although I have neve been to Turkmenistan, I researched it via the internet. The more I read, the more fascinated I was. Ruins from the “Silk Roard” abound. Turkmenistan was the farthest south of any of the Soviet Socialist Republics. The Russians built schools and other facilities. The native language is Turkmen and that is also the people group name of most of the population.

When did you discover writing?

I have written non-fiction for most of my life. I was a newspaper reporter then an editor. I find that writing comes easy to me, but writing fiction with logical plot direction is harder.

Do you have a favorite snack food or favorite beverage that you enjoy while you write?

When I am settling in for a long session of writing I usually like to have a Diet Coke or a cup of tea beside me. And as to what I am wearing, it is often my pajamas and a cozy, ratty old chenile robe.

Where can we learn more about your books?

From my publisher, Second Wind Publishing: http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/#!susan-williamson/c1pj6
My website is http://www.susanwilliamsonauthor.com and my blog is Creek Side Musings.

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