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Writing Tips

The Right Word is the Simpler Word

Note: This is a follow-up video/post to my post “To People Who Think I Use Big Words to Sound Smart”.

After reading “Mystic River” by Dennis Lehane, which was full of clear and powerful language, I realized that the right word is often the simpler word.

This is because the goal of communication is to make sure you are understood. It’s less about what you know and more about how you show what you know.

When given a choice, always choose the simpler word because:

  1. Simpler words are familiar, and therefore understood quickly.
  2. Simpler words are often more in context (vs. a more archaic or technical big word).
  3. Simpler words communicate complicated ideas better.

This goes back to the post about how my classmates said I was using big words to sound smart. After reading “Mystic River”, I’ve started thinking about things from my classmates’ point of view.

My classmates misunderstood me because I used big words purely to help myself learn, instead of trying to communicate well. Ultimately, it was my own damn fault that my classmates misunderstood me—I was not using the right words! I was using big words to improve my understanding, sure, but I didn’t consider whether those words were the right words to convey my ideas.

Now I know better. Now I’m choosing the right—and often simpler—words.

Writing More Meaningful Symbolism

Netflix’s Luke Cage was an entertaining series, and it also helped me understand how to write better symbolism.

Here’s a summary of my talking points.

Avoid Using Superficial Symbolism  

In school, I was taught to reference existing works or mythologies if I was writing symbolism. For example, a guy who was strong would be given the name Hercule. Or I would use colours to represent different character attributes. Green was the colour of greed, so a character who was greedy would carry a green purse, which became a symbol.

These techniques made sense from a literary analysis standpoint, but they failed to enhance the reader’s connection to the characters, plot, or setting. These symbols also missed out on opportunities to accomplish more than one goal and were therefore one-dimensional.

After watching Luke Cage, I realized that I needed to use less superficial symbols that could be replicated for any story, and instead write more meaningful symbols.

3 Qualities of Meaningful Symbolism

In Luke Cage, the ring that Luke was tasked to find took on a deeper meaning as Episode 5 progressed:

  • The ring became a symbol for Harlem (its past, present, and future).
  • The ring represented different qualities of the characters.
  • The ring drove Episode 5’s plot.

I concluded that meaningful symbolism should consist of three main qualities:

1. The symbol must be significant to the characters. 

It doesn’t matter if critics or readers can dissect a symbol for hours on end. If the symbol is not significant to the characters and their lives, it will lack emotional and contextual depth.

2. The symbol should be unique to the story.

Blood is not a unique symbol. It can be used to represent guilt, life, and so forth, but to characters across different stories, it’s still just blood. But if the symbol is original to your story and can’t be replicated elsewhere, it will be more memorable and create more opportunities to take your story to new heights.

Examples: the Elder Wand in Harry Potter, the Death Star in Star Wars, and the One Ring in LOTR.

3. Symbolism should accomplish more than one thing.

You can use symbols to communicate character traits, drive the plot, or reveal the history of your setting. Symbolism can reveal how characters think and feel or were transformed.

Instead of creating different symbols and using them to fulfill a multitude of purposes, one multi-purpose symbol tightens up the narrative and creates a more concentrated impact.

In Conclusion

Symbolism should enhance the characters, plot, and essence of your story first.

Everything else is secondary.

What are your thoughts about writing symbolism?

My Novel Revision Process & Lessons Learned

Writing Millie Ho Novel Revision Process & Lessons Learned

Revising in dank coffee shop basements near you.

This past weekend, I finished revising the novel I started this April. The New Story has been sent to beta readers, and I’ll do more revision once I get their feedback, but for now, the hardest part is over. Here’s a timeline of my writing progress:

  • April: Ditched the Long-Suffering Manuscript and plotted a new novel, the New Story.
  • May: Finished writing Draft One by turning off my brain. I printed it off and put it away to revise later.
  • May – June: Worked on short stories/poems/art to take my mind off the New Story.
  • July – September: Pulled out Draft One and started revising. I wrote Draft Two, then revised Draft Two, wrote Draft Three, then revised Draft Three…
  • Late September – early October: Followed an instinct and restructured the entire story. This became the final draft I sent to beta readers.

Overall, it took me six months to plot, write, and revise the New Story. Compared to the nearly five years I spent on the Long-Suffering Manuscript, this is a big improvement. Along with my output speed, I like to think that the quality of my writing also improved because I got a lot more practice done in a shorter period of time, which is aligned with my goal to finish more drafts this year.

Here are some challenges I ran into while revising, and how I would do things differently the next time around.

Lesson #1: Stop cramming in too many new ideas.

I took lots of notes while writing Draft One. These notes ranged from solutions to plot holes, to characters I wanted to add in or kill off, and other random details like which person had jowls and how I would describe a police station made of pink granite. I took these notes to stop myself from editing the story whenever I got a new idea and also to sustain my writing momentum.

Then I revised Draft One and tried to cram in all these new ideas, which was a mistake. Sure, some ideas were interesting to explore, but that didn’t mean I had to explore them in this one story. As a result, Draft Two was bloated with stuff that didn’t necessarily enhance the story. I spent a lot of time in later drafts pulling out the weeds. Next time, I will add only the most urgent and relevant ideas and save the rest for stories to write in the future.

Lesson #2: Plot loosely for each new draft.

Since Draft Two was so bloated, I needed to re-plot Draft Three to get the narrative back on track. Because I felt the story had gotten out of control, I reverted back to control freak mode and tried to plot every chapter of Draft Three down to the last detail. Looking back, this made the writing difficult in two ways:

  • My characters became more passive because the story was becoming more plot-driven.
  • I was living in my head (plotting, making notes, etc) more than I was writing.

I lost two weeks of writing productivity because I was painstakingly re-plotting everything, and in the end I scraped most of these plans anyway. When I’m writing, I’ll run into situations I can’t predict, so it’s better to place the narrative in the hands of the characters and let them run the show. I now know that it’s better to develop a loose plot for each new draft and to simply readjust the story when it needed readjusting.

Lesson #3: Do more exploratory writing instead of deleting things.

If a character wasn’t working out, I would simply cut them out. A few days later, I could be out walking and think, “Hey, why did I cut out Character X? They could’ve been useful in This New Situation.” But by that time, I would’ve gotten too far into the new draft without Character X to even bother with putting them back in again.

I learned that just because something wasn’t getting written smoothly didn’t mean it didn’t have a place in the story. What I should’ve done was open a new Word document and write a scene or two featuring the character that was giving me problems, and let them explain their story to me. This would’ve saved me a lot of headache and allowed the narrative to unfold more naturally.

Lesson #4: Get more comfortable with making big changes.

With each new round of revisions, major elements of the New Story changed. Draft One was set in a futuristic environment, but the story in the final draft took place in contemporary Toronto. I also removed four major characters between Draft One and Draft Three, and changed 90% of the story when I restructured everything in the final draft. The word count went from 98,298 (Draft One) to 121,731 words (Draft Three) to 62,635 (the final draft). These were some big changes, and I didn’t always handle it well.

There were days when I moped around, listening to 80s power ballads on repeat and reading John Ajvide Lindqvist under a blanket until my eyes fell out. What I should’ve done was just suck it up. Making big changes is just part of the writing process, dammit! Things got better once I learned to become more patient, so I’ll mope less the next time around (because I WILL MOPE) and get back to the blank screen quicker.

Next Steps

I’m switching gears and working on some stories and art to take my mind off the New Story until my beta readers get back to me with their comments. I’m also preparing to do some travelling this winter, so that should take up a good chunk of my time. All in all, I learned a lot about writing in the past six months, the most important lesson being that there’s always room for improvement.

—–
Millie’s Note: What’s your revision or editing process?

The More You Write, The More Ideas You’ll Have

Millie Ho The More You Write The More Ideas You'll Have

My brainstorming book, ft. nonchalant teen character.

I used to think that I would run out of ideas if I wrote too much. This fear drained my ability to write at times. But it made sense, right? Your mind can only generate so much content in a lifetime, and eventually you’ll just end up rewriting your existing ideas. Or worse, you could hit a brick wall that won’t move no matter how hard you slam into it. Writer’s block could last for days, months, years—and it’s always worse knowing that you’ve actually hit your ceiling than for it to remain a vague possibility looming in the background.

Now that I’ve been writing consistently every day and haven’t run out of ideas yet, I’d like to correct some of my misconceptions. Perhaps you can relate!

Misconception #1: I’ll become a parody of myself.

I had a fear that I would just be rehashing the same ideas over and over. But I haven’t reached the kind of output to qualify for self-parody status yet, not by a long shot. And if I become a parody of myself, so what? At least there’s something to parody, at least I’ll know what I’m all about. So there’s no need to worry about things that haven’t happened yet. Just focus on what needs to be written today.

Misconception #2: I need to come up with insanely original ideas.

Nope, not really. There are infinite ways you can tell the same story. I’ve been reading How To Write A Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey, which is a very helpful classic on storytelling, and one section in particular caught my eye:

How many novels could be written on the Samson and Delilah theme? Dozens and dozens. Ever read a story in which a plain but deserving girl finally marries Mr. Wonderful? It has been done a trillion times and will be done a trillion times more.

The key differentiator is not in the idea itself, Frey suggests, but in how the writer executes the idea. Remembering this helped redirect my focus from brainstorming to revising. After all, the real magic happens during the editing process, when the writer demonstrates how their story stands out. Originality comes from execution.

Misconception #3: It’s bad to produce crappy ideas.

Sure, I believe in quality over quantity just as much as the next person, but how do you develop quality? You need to generate lots of crappy ideas first! The more I jot down all new ideas, the more good ideas I get along with the bad ones. And sometimes it’s not even the initial idea that materializes into the final story, but a secondary idea that branched off the main one. Knowing this has encouraged me to keep writing and generating new ideas, even if they don’t go anywhere. You never know when the stars will align.

My Experience With Writing Stories Daily

It all started a few months ago, when I wrote new stories to take my mind off Draft One of my manuscript so that I could revise it objectively. My first few ideas were bad. They resembled half-formed thoughts and I failed multiple times trying to stretch them into stories. But I persisted. I worked on one story for a few days, set it aside and started a new one, then edited the first one after I finished the second one. Rinse and repeat, over and over.

Eventually something interesting happened: my ideas began to get better. My execution of these ideas also improved. I also began to see ideas everywhere: an overheard conversation in a restaurant, a random song lyric that formed the basis of a character sketch. Since I now believed I won’t run out of ideas, I began to see the ideas I would’ve missed if I hadn’t been looking.

Consistency Is key

I tried doing something like this in the past, but I didn’t stick with it consistently. As a result, my ability to ideate turned rusty. Eventually, I falsely believed that I was incapable of brainstorming new and better ideas. But it’s like exercising, really: it’s inefficient to start, stop for a few weeks, and then pick up the dumbbells again. To properly strengthen the writing muscle, I need to keep exercising every single day.

My experience has taught me that you won’t run out of ideas.

You’ll just get better at recognizing and developing them.

——-

Millie’s Note: What’s your experience?

What to Do While Waiting to Revise

Millie Ho Illustration Drawing Grinning Girl

A drawing done over the waiting period.

I didn’t do enough of waiting before revising in the past. Because I didn’t wait, I wasn’t entirely removed from the narrative. Characters and situations were still fresh in my mind, and my revisions suffered because I still had vivid and biased opinions about what’s what. The only way I can edit Draft One objectively is to put some time between me and the manuscript, so that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks: waiting.

The next question is what to do during this waiting period. Here’s what I did, and maybe it will give you some ideas.

Writing New Stories

I quickly realized that the best way to take my mind off something I wrote is to start writing something else. Within a week of brainstorming ideas and writing flash fiction and short stories, these new narratives started to push the old narrative from my headspace. My focus shifted, and I started to forget.

The funny thing is that my short stories are getting written in the Draft One method—I start with a plot skeleton and then allow myself to deviate by chasing my instincts as I went along. Previously unforeseen or unplanned characteristics, situations, and themes got unearthed. It’s great, and I’m (still) amazed at how it hasn’t turned on its side and vomited in my face yet.

I’m also getting more comfortable with the idea that everything will come together in the revision process. For my flash fiction and short stories, it certainly has. This speaks again to the idea of not editing your work until you’ve seen the complete picture. When you’re feeling your way through a story, it’s pretty damn hard to get a sense of the whole. Just bow your head and keep writing and edit once you’ve had the benefit of hindsight.

Drawing and Painting

Millie Ho Oil Painting Brushes Medium Paints

Turpentine, so good yet so toxic.

A few weeks ago, I picked up hog hair brushes, paints, canvases and masonite boards and have been upping my oil painting game. I’m a beginner with oils and used to be daunted by the prospect of working with solvents or accidentally smudging my colours, but my fears were unfounded. Like the “Whatever works” writing method, just paint something and revise once the layers are dry. It doesn’t matter if it takes a week or two to dry completely—you’ll get there eventually. The first step is just to have a go at it.

Youtube is a great free resource for painters and illustrators. If you’re interested in oil painting, a channel I’ve been obsessively combing through is Draw Mix Paint. The artist offers clear tips and demonstrates techniques that are helpful for both beginners and seasoned painters. If you’re into painting portraits and love ivory black paint as much as I do, you’ll get a kick out of the channel.

I’ve also been working on updating my art portfolio. Most of the art on my existing Art page were from when I was in high school/early university, plus a book cover I did for Marie Marshall a few years back. So now’s as good a time as any to be prolific. The new pieces aren’t ready to go up yet, but here’s a quick drawing I did.

Millie Ho Illustration Skull Drawing

I call her Skully.

I’ll share more artwork when they’re all polished and shiny with a bow on top.

Living in the Moment

Now that I’m no longer furiously typing all the time, I’ve been living more in the moment, which includes but is not limited to

Millie Ho Uncle Hank Lookalike

spotting the Breaking Bad characters walking among us or

Millie Ho Favourite Books

reading old favourites and

Millie Ho Full Moon

admiring nature (albeit from afar).

It’s been good.

When to Start Revising

The contents of Draft One are fading each week, so I will likely start revising next week. In summary, the waiting period was a good reminder that I need to be patient. It’s an interesting switching of gears. I binge wrote Draft One, but it would’ve been unwise for me to quickly jump into the revision process. Believe me, I was definitely ready to—but then I took a good hard look at my past experiences and realized I could’ve done some things differently.

I’ll conclude with what Anne Lamott said in Bird by Bird:

“Try looking at your mind as a wayward puppy that you are trying to paper train. You don’t drop-kick a puppy into the neighbour’s yard every time it piddles on the floor. You just keep bringing it back to the newspaper.”

In other words, stick to the game plan. We’ll get there eventually.

——

Millie’s Note: Do you wait before revising?

4 Things I Learned Writing at Breakneck Speed

Millie Ho Illustration Story

Sketch of my main characters + miscellaneous cats.

I finished Draft One of the new story today. The total manuscript is 476 pages and 98,298 words. To recap, I started writing last month after plotting for a week or so, and basically word vomited every day for twenty-four days. So yeah, no social life for me! And, as expected, what I achieved with speed I sacrificed in coherence. But that comes with the territory, and I’ll fix this later in the revision and rewriting process.

I felt like I needed to write this new story as quickly and as imperfectly as possible. I needed to do the exact opposite of what I did when I wrote and revised the Long-Suffering Manuscript. I needed to come at it hard and rely on my intuition more often than my outline. Also, I didn’t want to be in the position of not delivering a story on time or leaving beta readers hanging ever again, so being able to write quicker is part of my training.

This was the hardest and fastest I’d written anything before, so naturally here’s a post about what I learned:

1. There is no one right way to write.

As I learned from other bloggers and am discovering for myself more and more, there is no one right way to write. Though I still lean more towards plotter, “Whatever works” is going to be my motto from now on.

Therefore, an addendum I’d add to my past writing learnings is this: just because you identified a writing process that works for you right now, it doesn’t mean that’s all there is.

You might find something better later on, so allow yourself to be flexible.

2. Listening to music helps with writing momentum (at least for me).

Here’s something that will always be true for me. Regardless of how and where I write, the process is always more pleasant and productive when I put on some tunes.

For Draft One, I listened to rock and hip-hop. The lyrics—what I could make out, anyway—were cathartic and occasionally necessary to drown out the sounds of the writing environment.

Fast beats also guided the rhythm of my typing, so the faster, the better.

3. Entertain some exploratory writing.

Back to that ‘story as fossil’ analogy that Stephen King described in his On Writing book. Since I didn’t polish the plot before writing, it was inevitable that I would run into parts where I had no solutions or resolutions.

In these situations, I just pulled up another document and scratched around in it a little, until I found something promising. Then it’s copying + pasting the above average bits into the main draft, and going from there.

4. It’s possible.

It’s possible to write a lot in a condensed period of time. One of my favourite authors is Catherynne M. Valente, and I used her 2011 pep talk for NaNoWriMo as a guide for writing quickly without stopping. Here’s the part that marked a turning point for me:

Though it is important not to put too much pressure on yourself, it is also important to know that quality and speed have absolutely nothing to do with one another. You can write something heart-catchingly brilliant in 30 days. You can do it in 10. There is no reason on this green earth not to try for glory.

Quality and speed have nothing to do with one another—isn’t that brilliant? Of course, this may be true for Catherynne (my Draft One was barely clinging to life when I was done), but it got the ball rolling for a new project, and I’m so glad I tried, if only to see what I was capable of.

What’s next?

I printed out the manuscript and will start reading and revising.

I took lots of notes as I wrote, so the process will likely also involve scanning those notes, trying to make sense of them, and making a Frankenstein-esque Draft Two. The main goal is to ensure that every scene, character, and subplot a) progresses the main conflict and b) is relevant to the main conflict.

Time to get to work.

3 Steps to Find a Story’s Emotional Core

The emotional core of a story is the universal human experience.

It’s also what readers and audiences remember long after they finished a book, TV series, or film.

When I was first writing and re-writing the Nash Moor story many moons ago, I neglected the emotional core. I focused too much on the procedural elements and not enough on the emotional connection between the reader and my characters. Instinctively, I knew a story should be driven by characters and their emotions, but I didn’t believe it. This was largely due to my fear of being vulnerable (which I try to work out in other ways), or possibly my commitment to the stereotypes of the neo-noir genre.

Like most of My Realizations About What I’ve Been Doing Wrong and How to Create Better Things, a quotation changed all that:

“Yeah, but when fiction works for me it works on an emotional level first and an intellectual level second.”

— Stephen King (The Atlantic)

BOOM.

MIND EXPLODED.

It’s not rocket science, but it addressed a part of me that I’d been suppressing for a long time. The quotation made total sense when I looked at all my favourite books, TV shows, and films. I loved those stories because they all had nice, bleeding, still-alive emotional cores. I related to them emotionally first and foremost, and when I thought about them years later, it was not the plot twists or cool villains but the emotional elements that popped to mind first.

After I found out what my Long-Suffering Manuscript was missing, I worked backwards. In order to understand how to properly write the emotional core, I needed to understand why I liked what I liked. And this led to:

The 3 Steps (Hint: It’s All About Relationships)

To find the emotional core of any narrative, you simply look at the main relationship of the story and reverse engineer the relationship. The rationale behind this is that the main relationship of the story usually parallels the central plot in some way (Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard), or is responsible for the central plot (The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling). And, of course, a relationship involves people, so there would be plenty of motivations, emotional baggage, and trigger-happy unpredictability for you to sink your teeth into.

Once you identify the main relationship and the parties involved, you simply answer:

  1. Why does the relationship exist?
  2. What are the conflicts in this relationship?
  3. What happens to the relationship at the end?

For an example of these steps at work, see the part of the video where I break down Rum Punch/Jackie Brown’s emotional core using the 3 Steps.

Find Your Own Story’s Emotional Core

To find your own story’s emotional core, dig deep inside yourself to see what resonated with you in both life and fiction. Then ask yourself the following:

  1. What life experiences (good or bad) influenced you the most? Make a list of five experiences, and select the most compelling one to write about.
  2. What are your favourite stories? Use the 3 Steps to reverse engineer the main relationship, find the emotional core, and understand why these elements connected with you.
  3. When all else fails, just write!

The truth is that sometimes you’ll only find out what you’re actually writing about after you finish. This seems particularly true when writing the first draft of a book, and if you’re at that stage, I recommend #3 above all else.

To Sum It All Up

To find the emotional core of any narrative, including your own, focus on the main relationship in the story. Think about who is involved, why the relationship exists, what conflicts muck things up, and what happens to the relationship at the end of the story.

That’s it.

It’s not rocket science, but that’s probably why it works.

——

Millie’s Note: What emotional cores do you relate to?

Villains Don’t Always Need to be Humanized

Two of my favourite TV shows aired their finale episodes last month. The first show is Hannibal (unfortunately, cancelled by NBC) and the second is Pretty Little Liars. While they are drastically different shows for different audiences, both shows feature a main villain that is portrayed as intelligent, organized, murderous, slightly supernatural and sees people as toys they can control like a puppeteer.

While Hannibal Lecter from Hannibal is impossible to relate to or sympathize with, I understood his motivations much better than A from Pretty Little Liars, who fell apart when the writers tried to humanize her actions.

Key takeaways from the video:

Why Hannibal Was a Great Villain Without Being Humanized

1. His curiosity about humanity makes humanity curious about him.

It’s interesting to watch someone with superhuman abilities orchestrate complicated events and inflict chaos simply to understand what you and I naturally know.

2. He’s an unknown quantity, a puzzle you try to solve (but can’t).

We naturally want to understand the unknown, but we also fear the unknown. Hannibal represents the combination of our fear and intrigue.

3. His actions drive the story, taking it to unexpected and fun places.

Hannibal is motivated by his curiosity first and foremost. While this motivation sounds simple, the cataclysmic events that follow his actions thankfully aren’t.

4. His portrayal is consistent.

Everything he does comes back to him being the devil trying to play God, especially with his need to destroy Will Graham and re-fashion him in his own image.

Why A Was Ruined Because She Was Humanized

1. She reveals that she had a bad childhood.

Who hasn’t?

2. Misunderstood because she was transgender and unstable.

She was sent to a mental institution presumably because of being transgender and also because she was seen as a threat to her siblings. I also hated how they handled the transgender storyline, but that’s another discussion altogether.

3. Hated the four girls because they were ‘happy’ A’s sister disappeared.

How does that justify A’s torturing them for years? Other people have done worse things to A’s family, yet she chooses to focus on the four main girls.

4. Addicted to the game of tormenting people.

Come again?

In Conclusion

A’s mystique was ruined because of a weak origin story designed to (and failed to) humanize her. The reasons given for her actions did not justify the extent of damage that A has caused, and A came out looking more like a caricature rather than a character. Meanwhile, Hannibal’s lack of humanization made him frightening because it’s in his nature to create chaos. It’s just what he does, and you can’t even exploit that.

Villains don’t always need to be humanized. Sometimes, being a complete unknown quantity is scarier than any convoluted backstory you can spin.

—–

Millie’s Note: Who are your favourite humanized or non-humanized villains? Which kind do you prefer?

How to Overcome Writing Perfectionism Using Empathy

This is the third installment of the I’m Writing A Book series.

I’ve written about writing perfectionism in the past, and since then, I’ve come to terms with the fact that writing perfectionism is always going to be a part of my personality. It’s not so much about killing the perfectionism as it is about managing it.

And the best way to do this, as I outline in the video, is to use a little empathy:

When it’s time to edit your work, imagine that you’re editing somebody else’s work instead of your own. Imagine that this is the work of your best friend, who you want to see succeed and realize his/her dream of being a published author.

Would you be as hard on your friend as you are on yourself?

Would you tell him/her to destroy months of work, re-plot the entire novel, kill off a character, just because you didn’t like A, B, C?

Probably not.

This was—hands down—the quickest way to get out of my own head and manage writing perfectionism.

—–

Millie’s Note: How do you manage writing perfectionism?

The post I mention: Writing and Love, It’s About Control

Why Closure is Important in Cliffhangers

I’ve always wondered how Breaking Bad managed to get away with so many cliffhanger episode endings AND leave us with a feeling of completeness at the same time.

After re-watching the series for the second time, I think I have the answer: closure.

When I first started writing my Long-Suffering Manuscript, I thought closure was only possible at the end of the story, after the protagonist defeated the antagonist, reclaimed lost turf, reconciled with loved ones, etc, but that’s not true at all.

Watching Walter White transform in each episode, however minutely, has taught me an important writing lesson:

closure should be present throughout your book, not just at the end

And this is especially important if said book contains a cliffhanger in every other chapter.

Using the pilot episode as an example, I break down this Closure Within A Cliffhanger idea, identify how episodic closure is established by the show’s writers, and why I’m now looking for more ways to insert closure into my chapters and scenes.

My main takeaway:

Closure = Understanding + Transformation

Closure does not mean getting rid of a problem

It simply means your protagonist has transformed because of the problem, and we, as readers, viewers, and audiences, can understand the protagonist and his/her situation better.

At the end of the day, if you’re not rewarding your readers with occasional moments of closure, then they’ll feel like they’re wasting their time by investing in your book. By saturating each narrative milestone with closure, you’ll create a more enjoyable reading experience.

——–

Millie’s Note: What are your thoughts about closure in fiction? Can closure and cliffhangers co-exist?