Getting closure: the gentle art of making ends meet
Before we get to closure, first some disclosure: I've struggled to finish the past couple of sprints. And because of that I haven't been posting any release notes, choosing to spend the time that I did have on the book itself. Oh well, I learned an important lesson: holidays ruin your sprint rhythm.
Sense of an ending
The past sprints I've been busy sharpening the ending. In my first draft I worked 'chronologically': writing chapter 1, then 2, etc. This time I'm looking to fix certain arcs or characters and I worked at specific scenes in one specific arc. Coming from this direction gave me an interesting perspective and in a way more sense of an ending.
One thing I worry about are the repetitions in my book. In one way they are fitting, but in another way they can get .... well, repetitive. Especially when a story is getting towards the end, it feels that each encounter should bring something extra. On the other hand I don't want to overstuff my story with all kinds of extra shenanigans. Thankfully, I found a good guide in Jane Alison's Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative. And just at the right time.
Breaking the pattern
Writing is following the rules (at least until you're brilliant enough to break them): show don't tell, write what you know, follow the arc. The arc! That Aristotelian construct of beginning, middle and end that until now has gone unrefuted. Until Alison that is. She proposes several other structures in text and gives examples of writing that's different than the arc that "swells and tautens until climax, then collapses". That piqued my interest.
Wear your frown upside down
So in the end ;-) I have opted for a using (or adding) a different structure. The ending does repeat encounters from earlier in the book but with different outcomes, to show my main character has grown or has found different ways to deal with the situation. I didn't get rid of the repetition. In fact, I believe repetition is an important style element in a book based on King Arthur romances. After all, those romances are themselves repetitions on a theme. For instance quite a few stories start in the same setting, a feast or Pentecost for example. But now in my book the repetition (hopefully) makes more sense: those scenes reach back to earlier scenes and add an extra layer.
Not sure yet if this is a spiral , a wave or some other pattern but it's drawing an (upside down) arc on my face nonetheless.