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Thanks Geneva
by: Richard McCullough

But you've got me puzzled as to which "short story" you are referencing.

by: Geneva M. Neale (Audain)

Indeed Richard McCullough.

I really zipped through my read of this episode with ease. I was confidently whisking along as I kept looking forward to get to the end within seconds of my start.

Your favorite poetess has no suggestion nor does she offer you any recommendations save that you have come a long way "preacher man" as one singer once sang.

Yes, I am now seventy one and I do not have any comments as much as I previously did decorate your page a year ago.

I do thank you again Richard. Now I do know why I did not skip through but I did observe and I did spark while I did enjoy and no, I have no recommendations.

More About The System
by: Richard McCullough

I've written this all up in a package of materials (566 page manual, templates, videos, forum, coaching, etc.) which I'll be releasing soon. It goes into a great deal of depth regarding story structure, and the nomenclature of storytelling. To understand the tools one is using you must understand the words used to label those tools. And we can't discuss the subject if we don't have a standard nomenclature regarding the subject.

At this point the only thing I can suggest is:

You could wait for the release of my package. (But this keeps getting bumped back)

You could search my website for everything you can find on the Story Engine, premise and structure. (But I don't go into the details of the Story Engine on the website)

Or, I could let you have an early-release package at a discount in exchange for your feedback. (But I'm a little reluctant to even offer this because it will slow the release somewhat of the package that so many writers need.)

In any case, I wish you the best of luck "getting the bloody thing out of your computer" and into the hands of your readers. I hope the above was helpful. Let me know if there is anything else I can assist you with.

Write on...

The Writers System
by: Richard McCullough

I developed a "system" I call "The Story Engine" tm which is a sequence of 9 simple but comprehensive processes that walk the writer from bright idea to income. This is the whole purpose of being a "writer". That is unless one is only dabbling at writing as a "hobby".

The Story Engine:
1. Story Conception
2. Story Design
3. Story Research
4. Story Composition
5. Story Editing
6. Story Proofing
7. Story Publishing
8. Story Promotion
9. Story Sales

This sequence of processes is the product of over 30 years of research, practice and refinement. You can consider it an assembly line for ideas.

Your problem (if I may be so bold) is that you skipped over one or more steps in the Conception and Design departments. Not your fault. It's pretty hard to do something if you've never been trained on how to do it. Virtually everyone starts out with a "fly-by-the-muse" approach because no one teaches a comprehensive system. Outlining is a joke. I could explain why but that would take sever pages and...

The good news is that "The Story Engine" tm also works to tweak a story that's gone astray like your case where you don't know how to end it.

There are 5 movements to a well designed story. Forget about "3-Acts" the concept is half-baked and incomplete.

The 5 Movements of the long format story are:
1. Introduction
2. First incident
3. Second incident
4. Third incident (more correctly identified as the "the Event")
5. Conclusion

The seeds for the Event are sown in the Introduction. The climax of the Event is what people normally think of as "the ending".

The Ending is (in many ways) more important than the opening, which everyone spends so much ink and sweat over. I could explain why but...

I'm oversimplifying here just a bit for the sake of brevity.

Properly working through the Story Conception and Story Design processes is how one figures out the bookends of the story. One must work-out the story backwards from the Event to the Introduction. The Conclusion is a relatively short piece of narrative that brings the story full circle. Stories (by their very nature) are circular.

All of which is the long way of saying that the problem is not in the Ending but in the beginning, the Introduction. A properly composed Introduction contains the seeds of "the Event" which is the End of the story.
If you are having trouble with the ending, that's because there is something missing from the Introduction.

A story (in its most basic view) is an argument in logic. It consists of a premise, arguments, and conclusion. To solve your ending you must look to your premise or lack thereof.


The Ending is in the Beginning
by: Richard McCullough

That's a very good question Peter and one that gives many writers trouble.

There are basically two methods to writing fiction:

1. The "fly-by-the-muse" method where you just dive in and start composing the narrative and see where it takes you.

2. The "work the story out first" method where you work out the basic story points and then compose it.

Different writers use one or the other, or some combination of the two.

I've come to lean towards the "work-it-out-first" method.

It sounds like you lean more towards the "fly-by-the-muse" approach and therein lies the problem.

I was plagued for many years with the ramifications inherent with the "fly-by-the-muse" method. How to end the bloody thing is only one of them. Having it run too long or too short is another. Stories also tend to wander off on tangents, and while this is interesting for the writer it doesn't necessary move things towards the close. And having no "second act", as the screenwriters say, is yet another problem with this method. And the list of problems goes on and on.

But the real problem is one of control or lack thereof.

Knowledge equals control and control equals income. And when one knows all the ins-and-outs of story conception, design and execution then you're in control.

The ideal scene for a fiction writer is to rapidly and consistently produce quality stories that people actually want to read and will pay money for. Rapidity and consistency are the key words. That requires control over the writing process which means one must have a system of some sort.

I created just such a system.


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