Episode 27: Bookend Scenes, Writing the Beginning and the End

In this episode:

Melanie and I have finally, finally, graduated to writing the first and last scenes of our novels. Jennie goes over my scenes with me and in the process shares a lot of gems about the writing process. She talks about:

  • Why the first thing you write should be the first and last scenes. (She calls them the "bookends.")
  • Writing a scene from multiple starting points can help you determine why today? Why must your story start when it does? 
  • We briefly touch on MG vs YA themes-- often times they deal with the same issues, only it's the depth of the character's wrestling with those issues that makes a difference. Jennie brings up this scene from the movie Love Actually 
  • Writing the first and last scenes helps you to nail down the emotional wants and needs of the main character, and how those needs will evolve over the course of the book. This can also help you map out how it will affect other characters in the story. 
  • Ask yourself: 1) What is the story really about? 2) Why does your character want what she wants? 3) What will she do to get it? 4) How does it bring her closer or further from that thing she wants? Bookends written from these questions will help the rest of the book fall into place. 
  • Jennie also talks about the danger of author intrusion in the form of unbelievable dialogue.