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Posted: Mar 13 2012, 11:20 AM
Group: Moderation Team
Member No.: 3
Joined: 8-November 11
FULL CIRLE: BEGINNINGS and ENDINGS
One aspect of hooks that we haven't touched on yet is how the opening hook of your novel (and by this we're referring to the first 200 words or, essentially, the first scene since those 200 words are part of that first scene) can do more than just hook in a reader. It can give you as the author both a launch pad for the story and a landing place for its end.
By viewing your opening hook as a starting place to bring your story full circle and end it in a 'like' place. This gives the story a natural ending place, a feeling of completion, lets the reader land gently with the feeling that the characters have grown and changed and learned and have finally come together as a couple for that HEA.
Now most of us do this automatically and instinctively without even realizing it. But a lot of writers really struggle with *how* to end their story, and the technique of looking at your hook to help find that spot is a very valid one.
So how exactly does this work? How do you get "Full Circle" based on a hook?
Looking at a few romances novels I've bought...
Example #1 Jorgina and her erotic vacation begins with Jorgina at the airport. The first chapter is spent bumping her into (literally) the hero and the two of them on the plane.
How does the book end? Yep, you guessed it. Jorgina and said hero on another plane. How the author started is how the author finished.
Example #2 our sheriff and the dangling bride and that garish billboard with the big, puckered, scarlet fiberglass lips? Starts at the billboard ends at the billboard.
Now in another book, the hero (Mick Chivers) was introduced us to Mick at his work. This is not how or where she ended the story (for obvious reasons). Rather, she introduced a few chapters later -- a spot (a house to be exact) that represented all of the heroine's dreams for home and family and husband and a future. It had a stained glass window of an angel that she called her "Wishing Angel" for obvious reasons. So where did the writer end her story? Yep. You guessed it. At that house with all the heroine's dreams and wishes for that home and family and future come to fruition.
Full circle. A sense of completion. Of two people finding their way together despite the odds.
How does this translate into your stories? Let's take a look.
In my last book, I introduced Ann and her lack of silk panties. Tsk. Poor thing. Anywhoo, the first 200 words of that scene land Ann at a bar. So where did the story end? Back at that same bar.
In another of my books (wip) the bride to be, her green halter top, and the country club opening... Hm. Well, to be honest, I have no clue WHERE that's going to end since I haven't gotten there yet, but I have a sneaky suspicion it won't be back at the country club. LOL. It'll probably be the wedding. But there, the ending is hinted at, imo, by the fact that she is the bride to be and isn't fitting in (thus putting the actual wedding happening in jeopardy), so having the story end with the actual wedding seems very "full circle."
In another of my WIPS, Joe Carlucci and his fishing in a swimming pool will, very likely, end with water again. Not necessarily a swimming pool, but perhaps a lake or an ocean, and most decidedly with him feeling at peace, at ease, and very content. Full circle reflecting change and, of course, the heroine will be there with him because he wouldn't have found any of that peace or change without her.
So why do stories end like this? Because the hook often contains elements that symbolize the conflict or goal central to the book. The airport represented daring and change, voyages and risks. The billboard represented the expectations (unrealistic and realistic) of romance and love. The house? Already explained. As for mine, the bar was a symbol of change, of finding oneself, of confidence, determination, and change. The bride and wedding is pretty self-explanatory, I think. But Joe and his pool? Again, all about change. About contentment.
Your hook sets up the problems the issues, the goals, the motivation, and conflict for the entire story and your ending reflects how those goals were met or changed, how the conflict was resolved, and gives your characters a chance to show how all their dreams came true, how they've changed, found peace, found love, etc.
Essentially your opening hook and your ending have to say one thing about the characters to your reader: You've come a long way, baby.
So how about your WIP hooks? Go back to Part 1, repost your hooks here, and tell us how your hook and your ending (if they do, remember not all will) bring that story full circle.
Questions? Comments? Ask away.