Friday, June 27, 2014

YOU CAN WRITE A MYSTERY: LESSON EIGHT




LESSON EIGHT: THE END (PART ONE)

The End takes up the last 1/4 of the story. The whole book has been leading up to this moment when the protagonist faces off with the antagonist. You don’t want to rush it or leave out the final physical and emotional steps taken by your hero. It should be the dramatic fulfillment of your main character’s quest.

Point of No Return
At the beginning of the end, your protagonist should feel that he has reached the point of no retreat. He’s changed and will never be the same. He’s set things in motion that can’t be erased or undone. He has to move forward even though everything he’s worked for up to this point feels doomed to fail. Frodo continues to climb Mount Doom even though he fears he’s fated to fail.

Blackest Moment
Something happens to convince your protagonist his task is doomed. There’s no chance of success. He emotionally gives up, but continues to work toward his goal even though he expects failure. This is called the blackest moment. This could be the moment when a mother who’s scrambled to earn the money necessary for her child’s operation, learns that the condition has advanced and it’s too late.  The doctor refuses to perform the surgery because there is only a one in a billion chance it might succeed. The mother won’t take no. She hunts for another doctor who will operate even though she knows her son’s condition is hopeless.

Moral Decision
The protagonist has a moral decision to make in what seems like a no-win situation.


If they do the right thing, they believe they will lose everything.
If they do the wrong thing they can win, but at a high cost.
If they do anything it will have a negative consequence.
If they do nothing, it will have a negative consequence.

After fighting with their conscience and deliberating between what is the right thing to do and what would be the wrong thing to do, the protagonist finds renewed strength from within. This strength should come from a memory or an experience. This allows him to makes what he thinks will be the best choice of action.
Detective Morley’s moral decision might be whether to arrest the serial killer or to blow his brains out to make sure he’ll never hurt another person. As a cop, he believes in the due process of law. He also knows the killer is rich, will buy his freedom and move to another country to kill again.

Answer the following:

What is her point of no return?

What is her blackest moment?

What is her moral sticking point?

If she does the right thing, what do she believe they will lose?

If she do the wrong thing, what does she think she can win? But at what high cost?

If she does anything, what negative consequence does she think it will have?

If she does nothing, what negative consequence does she think it will have?
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