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Narrative Writing and What You Need to Know

Diana here:
Let’s talk about narrative writing in romance.
First, what is it? It’s the technical name for telling or writing a story using the main character who has a problem (conflict) and must interact with it. The character can’t walk away because the plot conflicts involve him in a life-changing way.

There are a lot of skills needed to write romance narrative well. The one piece missing in a lot of beginning authors books is a satisfying ending. That doesn’t mean the heroine gets the hero because in a romance that’s expected. It’s the how and the why that makes an ending that has a reader closing her eyes and thinking wow, that was so good. I have to tell my friends to get this book.

Have you seen the movie The Proposal? If not, go watch it and then come back because I’m spoiling the ending for you in 3, 2, 1…

The Proposal is the perfect movie to illustrate what needs to be done with a story to make it memorable and relate to the viewer.

Margaret Tate is ruthless when it comes to her job. Her coworkers don’t even see her as human. Then one day she finds out she is might be deported back to Canada because she’s not a United States citizen. In a meeting, she grabs her assistant Andrew Paxton and tells the head of the company they are engaged and getting married.

Andrew is not happy but agrees  to be a part of the pretend engagement if Margaret will read his book and consider publishing it.

A lot of fun stuff happens, and we watch Margaret grow and change.

Flash to the ending. We think it’s over. Margaret is packing up her office and Andrew returns.

There is a reason for the statement every story has a beginning and an end.

Here’s the critical part that makes The Proposal stick with the viewer, the big “oh no” of the conflict begins and ends at the publishing house. We go full circle. Humans like circles. We’re odd like that, our brains like completion and having your narrative end at a place that is the same as the beginning or very close to it helps the reader close that circle. This is where it’s obvious both characters have changed.

A classic book that has a great narrative ending is Gone with the Wind. It full circles back to Tara.

Think of a book that has stayed with you, did the author complete the circle? 

Look at your work, do you have a plan for the ending that will close the circle for the main characters?

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