The denouement, darling.
On finishing my first draft of my crime novel ‘Silent Misery’ (I’m not totally fixed on this title), I knew at once that I hadn’t got the ending right.
The denouement is as important as the beginning of a novel, as it leaves the memory of the writer’s work with the reader. A disappointing or ambiguous ending can leave the reader mystified or unsatisfied, hence they may not choose to read the same author in the future.
I’m not suggesting a ‘Hollywood ending’ where everything is perfect and sickly sweet. The protagonist may have succeeded in catching the criminal, preventing a crime, finding romance or prevailing over evil; however, they may have become battered and torn in the process.
In a storyline that has many sub-plots, it is necessary to tie up all the loose ends. However, resolving all of them at the denouement could feel rather overwhelming for the reader, so it is wise to start completing those nuggets before the final big bang. It can be easy to forget some of the sub-plots if the storyline is complicated – so using a mind map to keep a watchful eye over the proceedings, is advisable.
The building up of tension towards the denouement can be a thrilling ride. Remember though, that gliding gracefully to a resolution of plot can offer the final flourish of joy to the reader – rather like a coffee ad mint after a decadent meal.
Happy Word Flow One & All