Wednesday, July 12, 2017

"The Tease" Part 2 … Scene/Chapter Endings to Lead Your Readers On.


Okay, let’s just get this over with — I’m a major drama queen. I know, I know … big surprise! Not as bad as the sweet, little girl in this hilarious video (WARNING: You will laugh out loud!), but close …



Which means, I don’t do ho-hum. Not in the movies or TV shows I watch, the books I read, or even when I brush my teeth, which I do in a most dramatic fashion—grip tight, eyes closed, and a pained expression on my face. Can you say “receding gums”?

But I digress … as drama queens often do.

Ahem. Whenever I have done critiques in the past, the #1 thing I notice most are scene or chapter endings that could be ramped up. Now, maybe I feel that way because I am a CDQ (caffeinated drama queen), so I always want to end everything with a bang. Whatever the reason, scene or chapter endings are a unique opportunity to win your reader’s heart and lead them on. A pretty bow that wraps everything up while teasing the reader with what’s inside the rest of the book.



Back in October 2010 (and more recently as a Best of the Archives in June 2017), I wrote THE TEASE PART 1 … Great Scene/Chapter Endings to Lead Your Readers On. Utilizing a ton great scene or chapter endings from Seekers and other authors, I talked about the following fifteen ways to lead your readers on:

1.)    Humor
2.)    Suspense/Fear/Anxiety
3.)    Foreshadow
4.)    Threats
5.)    Romantic Tease
6.)    Regrets
7.)    Internal Monologue
8.)    Reveal a truth
9.)    Reveal something about the character
10.)    Reveal a decision made
11.)    Suspicion
12.)    Analogy
13.)    Action
14.)    Word Repetition
15.)    Cliff-hangers

Today, I would like to continue with The Tease Part 2, utilizing additional ways to entice your readers onto the next scene or chapter. Now keep in mind that many of these may overlap with those in part 1, but each also zeroes in on a basic strategy I used in book 3 in my Isle of Hope series, His Steadfast Love, which releases August 1st.  SHAMELESS PLUG: PRE-ORDER HERE.



Let’s continue our list with the following, but in each excerpt, PLEASE NOTE the critical role that beats (actions) and their placement in the final paragraph play, not only to paint the picture, but for rhythm and punch:

16.)    Play on Words
17.)    Sarcasm
18.)    Repetition
19.)    A Question
20.)    A Triggered Memory
21.)    Witticism
22.)    Short, Punchy Phrase
23.)    Idioms

16.) PLAY ON WORDS: One of my favorite ways to end a scene or chapter is to make a play on words, which is defined as “an expression that is worded in a distinctive way, especially one which is particularly memorable or artful.”

In the following example from His Steadfast Love, the heroine’s twin sister, Shannon, takes the pastor hero/good friend aside at her wedding, telling him she’s worried about her twin “falling apart” now that Shannon is married. In order to reflect the hero’s nervousness over getting involved with the flirty and wild heroine at Shannon’s request, I played on that same phrase.

          He dropped his head back against the headrest with a loud groan. The memory of Cat’s kiss branded his brain just like her mouth had branded his, stirring things he didn’t want to feel.
          Caring.
          Attraction.
          Desire.
          Because just like Shannon had feared, her sister had fallen apart, getting so trashed, he’d had to get too close. Close enough to ache for her. And close enough to see the desire in her eyes and taste it on her lips. Slamming the steering wheel hard, he yanked his keys from the ignition and got out, hurling the door closed with more than a little temper.
          Because at the moment, when it came to “falling apart,” Shannon’s sister had nothing on him.

17.) SARCASM: Sarcasm is one of those components that has a punch already built in, so to end a scene or chapter with it provides both added impact and insight into the character utilizing the sarcasm.
          “Everything will be okay, you’ll see.” Lacey patted Cat’s knee. “Besides, you probably flattered Chase to no end.”
          “Sure. The operative word being ‘end,’” Cat said with a wry twist of her lips. “End of friendship. End of relationship. End of story.”
          Shannon stood and kneaded her sister’s shoulder. “No way. Chase is one of the most amazing human beings I’ve ever met, so trust me when I say he will forgive and forget if he hasn’t already.”
          Cat couldn’t help but grunt as she rose to her feet. Forgive, maybe. But forget? A shiver traveled her spine as she thought of the humiliating kiss that plagued her day and night.
          Not a chance.

18.) REPETITION: I know Tease Part 1 listed “Repetition,” but I thought it was worth repeating (pun intended) because in my opinion, it’s one of the easiest ways to springboard into a strong scene or chapter ending. I have found repetition to be a surefire way to tease the reader with an alternate meaning, whether it’s sarcasm, foreshadowing future obstacles, or a play on words, such as in the scenes below. BUT a word of warning … do NOT overuse!

          She blinked, and then her face lit up in one of the most beautiful smiles he’d ever seen. “Now that I’d like to see—a pastor who moans over dessert.” She tipped her head, approval sparkling in those deadly blue eyes. “You know, there may be hope for you yet, Griffin.” And flipping a loose strand of hair over her shoulder, she marched to the café and disappeared inside.
          He grinned, pretty sure his future held way more groans than moans.  Shaking his head, he reached for the door, his smile refusing to wane.
          And it sure wouldn’t be over dessert.
***

          His smile tipped, easing into a little-boy grin that unleashed a swirl of heat in her belly. “As long as you do what Jack said and have a little mercy.” He tickled her neck with warm fingers that all but scalded her skin before they slid to the small of her back, guiding her outside.
          Heart racing, she chattered nonstop on the drive to her apartment building, where they parked his SUV in order to walk to Lulu’s.
          A little mercy?
          Yeah, the way Chase Griffin made her feel inside? She was going to need a whole lot more than that. (Note: “mercy” is understood)

19.) A QUESTION: Ending a scene or chapter ending with a question is probably the easiest way to add punch or tension, leaving the question lingering in the air along with the reader’s curiosity.

          “I mean the guy likes you, Cat, I can feel it.”
          Cat’s mouth slid sideways. “Then how come all I can feel is acute frustration whenever he’s around?”
          “Because he doesn’t want you to know it, sweetie.” Tiffany sat back with a smug smile. “I’ve always had a sense about these things, and my gut tells me good ol’ Pastor Chase is more vulnerable than you might think.”
          Swallowing hard, Cat could only stare, heart picking up pace while her mouth parched as dry as the salt on her popcorn. “Are you serious?”
          Tiffany’s grin was positively decadent. “Completely,” she said, grabbing more corn with a glint of trouble in her eyes. She pelted a piece in her mouth and chewed slowly, studying Cat through a shuttered gaze. “But the real question, Cat O’Bryen, is”—she jiggled her brows—“are you?”

20.) A TRIGGERED MEMORY: Triggering a memory is a good way to wrap a scene up with a punch, and something I like to do a fair amount. For instance, in this scene below, the secondary heroine is remembering something her first husband said to her before their marriage went south. Now when the scenario is repeated in her second marriage, it triggers a spur to action that clues the reader in that fireworks are coming …

          The memory of Adam’s words echoed in her brain. “I’d say it’s downright irresponsible for you to choose your job over your marriage, Tess, because that’s what you’re doing, leaving me vulnerable in the process.”
          Vulnerable.
          Just like Ben would be in the clutches of Dr. Barbie.
          “Over my dead body!” Tess shouted as she vaulted from the bed, grateful that her son Davey was a sound sleeper. Jerking her travel valet from the closet, she rammed the hook over the towel rack and started throwing things in at random, determined to protect her interests. Oh, yeah, she would surprise her husband with a whole lot more than monster cookies. She grunted as she dragged her suitcase from the closet.
          Like a wife in his bed.

21.) A WITTICISM: A witticism is “a saying or observation that usually involves a clever turn of phrase or a play on words, such as in the following play on the phrase “a real gem.”

          “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you, Chase,” Shannon said softly, the apology in her tone as telling as the gentle hand she laid on his arm. “Thank you.” A hint of moisture glazed in her eyes when she stepped away, tossing him a soggy grin as she left with a wave. “You are a real gem, my friend, you know that?”
          Oh yeah, he knew that. His smile went flat as he got in his Explorer and closed the door a little too hard.
          Dumb as a rock.
22.) SHORT PUNCHY PHRASE: One of the most effective chapter/scene endings—and admittedly, one of my favorites—is a one-two- or three-word sentence that wraps up the scene with a short and sweet conclusion such as in the two clips below. The first is from His Steadfast Love when a doctor gives the heroine good news, and the second is from A Love Surrendered when the hero finally turns to God.
          Her pulse slammed to a stop … then kicked back in when the breath she’d been holding whooshed out.
          Luckier than most.
          With a low groan, Chase crushed her in a powerful hug while saltwater burned beneath her lids. “Thank God,” he whispered.          And for the first time in a long, long while.
          Cat did.

***

          The steady beat of the rain drummed on the roof while the cold air chilled his body, the cool and damp of impending winter heavy in the air. And yet somehow, Steven felt warm, his breathing shallow as his eyes scanned the sky. There were no bolts of lightning to illuminate the dark nor peals of thunder to herald anything new. Only the still small voice of God in his heart, stirring a flame of hope that brought peace to his soul.
          He leadeth me beside the still waters . . . He restoreth my soul . . . He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness . . .
          “I don’t understand,” Steven rasped, eyes brimming with tears. “Why do You even care?
          Because you are mine, the thought came, and Steven bowed his head and wept.
          Because for the first time in his life, he finally understood.
          He was.

23.) IDIOMS: Using idioms can be a fun way to piggyback on a phrase in order to drive a point home with humor or punch such as in the clip below with the idiom, “dead in the water.” The hero attempts to save the heroine when she has a cramp in a lake, only to discover she’s faking it in order to dunk him, resulting in a body-to-body moment when he kisses her against his better judgment.

          They burst from the water as one, her body welded to his as she death-gripped his hair, obviously intent on one more plunge.
          But the only thing that plunged was his gut when their eyes locked, the laughter in her face dissolving into something far softer and warm while her ragged breathing mated with his. Her gaze dropped to his mouth, and a tidal wave of want surged through his body, taking him down as easily as Cat had done with her well-placed dunking. She absently licked her lips, and his stomach cramped with need as he fought the pull of her parted mouth, her shallow breathing in dangerous sync with his own. His eyelids felt as heavy as if he were drugged, arms slowly curling around her waist like they had a mind of their own. And God help him, they did, because he had little control as they drew her close, luring his mouth to hers with a low, aching moan.
          She tasted like sheer heaven as he nuzzled the lips he’d dreamed about since the night she had kissed him in her room. Forcing himself to take it slow, he caressed her mouth with all the tenderness that swirled inside for a lost, little girl named Cat. But the moment a soft mew left her lips, he was a goner, his groan hoarse as he delved in to explore with a passion too long denied.
          And that’s when he knew.
          He was dead in the water.
          Literally.

____________________________________________________________

OKAY, CRITIQUE OPPORTUNITY!
Hopefully the clips above have shed some light on different ways to liven up a scene or chapter ending, but if not, then give me a chapter ending of your own, and I’ll be happy to critique or praise it, whatever the case may be. But only one scene ending per person please, and please keep the scene ending to a few short paragraphs if you can.

GIVEAWAY:
This is it — your last chance to have a character named after you in His Steadfast Love (other than my CONTEST below where you not only get a character named after you in His Steadfast Love, but a signed copy, and your choice of a $50 Amazon gift card OR ten top CBA paperback recent releases), so leave a comment and you're in the draw for a character named after you in HSL and a signed copy.



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106 comments :

  1. So many lovely ways to end a chapter and not a one of them included falling asleep. Brava!! I bow to the queen.

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    1. LOL, Tina ... that would be the Queen of Anality, I'm sure, because I have been known to work a full hour on a scene ending to get it just the way I want. Sigh. One does not write a lot of books that way ...

      Hugs!
      Julie

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  2. Hi Julie:

    Wow! Congrats on this powerhouse post! I believe this post and part 1 are the most helpful I've yet to read on Seekerville. I can use everything you wrote...and will.

    However, I've gone over each example and I do believe every one of them can also serve as a hook to open a scene or chapter. Why limit all this power to just the endings?

    I'd also like to add one more item, which I'm surpprised you didn't include:

    23. Get edgy.

    Edgy can keep you on the edge of your seat. Now edgy is not the same as just being a tease or flirt. These can be done without being edgy. Edgy has a 'how did the editor allow this' flavor to it! It's like adding spice to the soup. : )

    I'll try to find a scene of my own to use tomorrow.

    Vince

    P.S. All these years I thought CDQ was Certified Drama Queen. I'm not sure which I like best.

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    1. WOW, Vince, what a compliment, my friend -- THANK YOU!! Although I'm a little worried you're on strong cold medicine to make such a statement, but I'll take it! ;)

      Ahhhhhh ... I knew I could count on you to bring my favorite scene ending in!! WHICH, I'll have you know, I actually had in this post, but cut it when I saw the post was getting too long, something I really do try to avoid, contrary to popular opinion! ;)

      So, in deference to one of my favorite people, I am going to include the one scene ending that I consider "edgy."

      23. Get edgy.

      “Good. And why is Cynthia not a threat anymore?” Ben massaged the back of Tess's neck while he awaited her answer.

      Her giggle tickled his skin. “Because Cynthia’s desperately in love with a dermatologist, and you’re desperately in love with me.”

      “Good girl.” He deposited a kiss to her hair before getting up from the bed. “And finally, what are you going to do while I go get a quick shower?”

      She sat up and blinked. “Is this a trick question?”

      He grinned as he picked up the sheer nightie, tossing it back on the bed on his way to the bathroom. “Nope, but it’s the most important one.” He stopped at the door to give her a heated look, his gaze raking every curve on her beautiful body. “You’re going to put that thing back on, Mrs. Carmichael, because after my shower?” His grin was decadent as he gave her a wink. “I plan to take it off all over again.”

      And,yes, CDQ works in a number of ways for this overly emotional train wreck, Vince, I assure you, be it caffeinated drama queen, or certified drama queen, or even crazy drama queen, so it covers a multitude of sins. ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    2. Hi Julie:

      Really, your post is that good! It's one thing to write about how important it is to end scenes and chapters with hooks to pull the reader into the next scene or chapter. However, it's quite another thing to give 23 ways to do this complete with examples! Who else has done that?

      Patterson advises to always be asking questions that the reader just must have answers to. I think that is what many of your points specifically do.

      As far as your edgy example, you simply must tell where that came from? Which book? That's the best 'edgy' scene since the Patrick/Marcy scene -- which is my favorite for being 'edgy with love'.

      Of course, when if comes to Lessman-style edge, perhaps not every writer should try to do it...at least not without a safety net. : )

      I do favor Certified Drama Queen because it has an earned quality to it. It's not something dependent on artificial stimulus. It's also something enduring that not anyone can accomplish.

      Again; please tell: which book that edgy quote come from?

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    3. LOL, Vince, you NEVER fail to bless the socks off of me, my friend -- THANK YOU!!

      And double LOL because I already offered you the book that has that scene when I invited you to be part of my blog tour! It's my latest, His Steadfast Love, which release August 1st, and since you are on my blog-tour list, I will gladly send you an e-copy to review, so just give me the word!

      Some of the bloggers who have read HSL say it's pretty steamy, so I have toned it down somewhat, but I will be happy to send you the original version if you like.

      HUGS!
      Julie

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  3. Julie, your unique flair for ramping up tension shines here... It's total Julie, front to finish!

    Dagnabbit, I do have people falling asleep to end chapters. I'm laughing out loud because I know I do that!!!!

    But sometimes it works...

    This has given me something to think about as I work on upcoming series, because it could throw a level of unpredictability into my work. And no one wants to be 100% predictable!

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    1. Aw, Ruthy, thank you SO much for the sweet compliment, but I wouldn't change a thing, darlin' because anyone who can land 2 or 3 books on the CBA Bestseller list at one time needs NO advice from me, that's for darn sure! ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  4. COFFEE HAS ARRIVED!!!! With a fine selection of creamers, and a hand frother. I love my hand-held frother!!!

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    1. LOL ... "hand-held frother"??? I didn't even know they existed, but it's perfect for today's blog, Ruthy, because isn't that what we're really doing here? "Frothing" our scene and chapter endings???

      Thanks for bringing the coffee, my friend, and I have a selection of Panera scones ( my favorite being glazed orange). Also my favorite morning pastry in the word -- those miniature fold-over Danish in fruit flavors and cheese. Sigh. So hard to find them anymore ...

      Hugs!
      Julie

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    2. Ruthy got me started using my frother right in the mug! Then I set the cup on the tray of my Keurig. Makes the best coffee!

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  5. Great post, Julie...definitely one for the Seekerville notebook! I've always thought Debby G. was the queen of chapter ending hooks. When I introduced my father to her books, he agreed.

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    1. Hey, Jill, I would have to concur with you and your dad on that when it comes to suspense because, Debby is definitely one of the best! In the suspense genre, one absolutely needs a "hook" into the next chapter since escalating tension has to frame each scene and chapter. But for those of us who write pure romance rather than suspense, I prefer the word "tease"! ;)

      HUGS!!
      Julie

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    2. Oh, and Jill -- I forgot to tell you that you deftly pointed out one of the reasons I think suspense and mystery authors are a cut above in the brains department. Not only do they have to be smarter than everyone else to write them because it's NOT easy to stump mystery/suspense readers (who work hard to figure it out beforehand), but you have to dramatically ramp up the tension with every scene as well -- no easy feat!

      And THAT, my friend, is why I will never write mystery or suspense because the pressure is too great. I have enough trouble coming up with one big twist in every one of my books as it is with romance readers, who really don't expect twists. I'd go crazy if I had to try and stump mystery/suspense readers!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    3. I agree, Julie! I'm definitely not crafty enough to write suspense. I don't think my brain works that way. Now, I must strive to be as big of a tease as you!

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    4. Jill, you're always so generous with your praise. Hugs to your sweet father, too! :)

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    5. Your books have a been a lifesaver for him as he cares for my mother, Debby. Hugs to you! xo

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    6. God bless both your parents. They're in my prayers!

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  6. Most of my chapter endings are ho-hum. Yawn.
    Now I'm going to find one so you can help.

    Great pointers, Julie.

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    1. LOL, Connie ... are you sure that yawn is not just from getting up too early??

      I would LOVE to take a look at one of your chapter endings, my friend, so bring it on!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  7. Ok, here you go. Setup--LillieAnn comes home to find her best friend murdered. With the killer chasing her, she runs. When the police are called and check out her house, there's no body. Because of LillieAnn's past, they don't believe her story. This is the first time her and the hero go back to her trailer.

    Quickly, tossing clothes in a bag, LillieAnn went to get Chloe’s things. A stack of folded onesies lay on the arm of the couch. She came to a halt.

    “What’s wrong?” (Riley asked)

    Kim never folded clothes. She washed them, but then would leave them in a pile until they were worn. LillieAnn spun on her heel and rushed to the kitchen.

    The floor had been swept and the dishes were stacked neatly in the cabinet. Her chest tightened as she dashed to her bedroom. The quilt she’d bought at the thrift shop lay folded neatly on her bed.

    “Someone cleaned my house.”

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    1. Gosh, Connie, that's pretty great just the way it is, my friend, seriously. But since you are my first "critique," I'm just gonna toss an alternate ending out there for the fun of it. And the other thing I would suggest is adding an action beat before the last line like I did in my last paragraph:

      The floor had been swept and the dishes were stacked neatly in the cabinet. Her chest tightened as she dashed to her bedroom. The quilt she’d bought at the thrift shop lay folded neatly on her bed.

      Heart hammering, she flew down the hall, goose bumps prickling as she skidded to a stop in front of Riley, her eyes blinking wide. "Oh my gosh--our murderer is a neat freak!"

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    2. LOL. That's great Julie!
      Love it!

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    3. Thanks, Connie -- but yours is pretty darn good, too, my friend. All I would suggest is to add an action beat and you're golden! :)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  8. awesome stuff Julie. This whole post is a tease to get your books, 'cuz now I want the "rest of the stories..." (hah)
    Very useful list (like Vince said)

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    1. LOL ... thus the name "The Tease," my friend. I go for double punch wherever I can ... ;)

      Hugs!
      Julie

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  9. Julie, what a great post. I knew chapter endings shouldn't be dull, but these are great ways to liven our stories up. Thanks.

    Here's the end of one of my chapters. Cassie found a bag of drugs at an estate sale and runs to tell the police chief. It doesn't go well and then she bumps into a man she knew growing up who now works part-time at the police department. Thanks for looking at this.

    “Yes. I’d already talked to your boss by then. Chief Anderson was emitting some bad vibes.”
    “Did you tell him about the drugs?” He plopped his cowboy hat back on his head.
    “No. I don’t trust him.”
    Zane sucked in his breath. The people of Jessamine loved their police chief. Zane had come to live here about the time the department needed extra help. He thought something was off with the older cop but had chalked it up to an overactive imagination. For the first time, somebody else voiced distrust of a man chosen to be the most-trusted person in town.

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    1. Ohhhh, Jackie, I like it!!

      But just for fun, here's an alternate suggestion utilizing points #19 (a question) and #22 (short, punchy phrase). Note the action beat (sweating) right before the last line.

      Zane sucked in a harsh breath. The people of Jessamine loved their police chief. Zane had come to live here about the time the department needed extra help. He thought something was off with the older cop but had chalked it up to an overactive imagination. But if Cassie didn’t trust him … Sweat glazed his collar.

      Could he?

      HUGS!!
      Julie

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    2. Julie, I love it! Thanks so much!

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    3. Thanks, Jackie. But honestly, yours is a pretty good scene ending to begin with, so it's not hard. And just for fun, you might want to experiment with the different options in Tease 1 and Tease 2 since that ending already has an element of suspense in it, making it easier to add even more punch if you wanted.

      Hugs!
      Julie

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  10. I love your books. I'd love to win an Amazon gift card. I'd buy books.

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    1. Aw, Cathyann -- THANK YOU, you sweet thing!! Here's hoping I can send you a winning copy with a character named "Cathyann"! ;)

      HUGS!!
      Julie

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  11. This is so helpful. I have been working on my chapter endings, on my current WIP and an older manuscript I'm editing, since I read some of the posts last week. I don't have anyone falling asleep, but I do have a couple of bland ones.
    The only time I would consider letting someone fall asleep is after a scene of great trauma, and only if they reflect on the trauma and have VERY BAD DREAMS. But mostly I'd rather not.
    Here's one I like, from the second book in my City On a Hill trilogy. Julia Mulcahey has rebuilt her life after a sinful past. She has a good job as social worker at a settlement house, and she is on the cusp of a relationship with a caring man. Of course it ALL GOES SOUTH when someone from her past shows up. Here's my chapter ending:

    Then he turned. She saw the clean lines of his face, the mocking eyes, and she knew. Even after five years, she knew.
    She took a step backward, almost into Henry’s arms, but kept her voice calm. You had to meet Charlie on his level.
    "Charlie. What do you want?"
    "Is that any way to greet an old friend?" The voice, smooth as honey but with an undertone of sandpaper. Oh, she'd know that voice anywhere.
    Henry had moved in close enough so she could smell his shaving lotion. Though he'd never touched her beyond helping her out of the car, he placed both hands on her shoulders.
    Karl stood behind his messy desk, folded his arms across his chest. "Who is he, Julia?"
    She closed her eyes, willed it all to go away. But when she opened them there he was, grinning like he had a right to be there.
    "He's Charlie Stone. My former pimp."

    Anyhow...I.Had.Fun.With.That.One.
    Please enter me in the drawing.
    Thanks,
    Kathy Bailey

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    1. WHOA, Kathy, that is AWESOME -- the whole thing, so you go, girl! I can't add anything to that, darlin'! GREAT JOB!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    2. Thank you, Julie. I have to admit that was my best one, they're not all that good. Now if only the BOOK lives up to the HOOK. Sigh.
      Going out now (writing by the lake), may be back later. I'm glad this is such a portable job!
      KB

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    3. KATHY!! You write by a lake too?? Isn't that JUST THE BEST???

      And, YES, I'm glad this is such a portable job as well. Right now I'm sitting in an eye doctor's office, waiting for him to come in, so that's about as portable as you can get, right?

      And, LOL ... you TOTALLY blew my socks off with not only that ending, but the whole piece -- VERY well-written, my friend! :)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  12. JULIE!!!! Such a TANTALIZING post!

    I brought some Earl Grey and cranberry scones to share.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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    1. Oooooo, Caryl, I LOVE Earl Grey ... he helps calm me down after a post like this ... ;)

      You're in the draw, my friend, so GOOD LUCK!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    2. Earl Grey in a china cup is The Best!

      Delete
  13. Love this post about endings. So informative!! Here's my ending for the story I'm working on right now: I walked around the house and came up behind it. This house sparks memories, but from where? Daddy says we’ve never been here before. The doctor is coming this afternoon. But I thought he was already here. I wish I could remember…

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    1. Hey, Sally, can you give me a little more info on this? For instance -- is this the ending paragraph for the entire book or just a scene or chapter ending?

      Also, can you set me up for this scene ending? What is the genre? Just need a short blurb as to what the story is about before I can toss in my two cents. But I will say -- you have me intrigued!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

      Delete
    2. This is the ending paragraph for chapter 1. The genre is inspirational psychological suspense. Lucy, a young girl, sees something happen, but her mind blocks her from remembering it. Then she starts having flashbacks.

      Here’s the part before the chapter ending (wording, etc will change, this is just the way I wrote it to get it down): I remember the day of my last birthday like it was yesterday. Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn’t. Time is irrelevant to me. Why you may ask. I’m not sure. Nothing makes sense.
      My daddy is my whole world. I don’t know where my mom went. One day she was there. The next she was gone. All the days blend together at this point.
      If it wasn’t for daddy, I don’t know what I’d do. We’re at a vacation house, but daddy says we’ve never been here before. But then I walk around the house and come up behind it. This house sparks memories, but from where? The doctor is coming this afternoon. But I thought he was already here. I wish I could remember…

      Delete
    3. OH. MY. GOODNESS!!!

      WOW. WOW. WOW!!! Just adding those two prior paragraphs painted SUCH an amazing picture for this scene, my friend -- EXCELLENT JOB!! I wouldn't change a thing, honestly. This is REALLLLLLLY good, Sally, and I'm not even a psychological suspense person, but you hooked me!!

      You go, girlfriend -- this is AWESOME!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

      Delete
    4. I was so afraid to share. This is the very first draft. I'm sure there are conflicting tenses and telling not showing and all those other things lol. Thank you so much for your encouragement! Just what I needed! Now to get this thing finished so I can find out how it ends lol.

      Delete
    5. Oh my gosh, Sally, the first draft, seriously??? You have a gift, my friend, so I'm praying God uses it mightily for His glory!!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

      Delete
  14. Julie, you are the queen of tease. smile. And I love it. Thanks for sharing some of your techniques. This is a print post for future reference. Thanks girlfriend. Have a blessed day.

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    1. LOL, Sandra, thank you ... I think! ;) Makes me shiver to think where I would have ended up without Jesus ... :|

      HUGS and you have a BLESSED DAY too, my sweet friend!

      Julie

      Delete
  15. All great tips, Julie! I try to pay close attention to my scene/chapter endings and have used many of these techniques at various times.

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    1. Oh, that's a given, my friend -- I've read your work, so you can just skip right on by this post!

      By the way, you don't just do scene & chapter endings well, you also do killer 1st lines, such as this one from Pearl of Great Price that given my dysfunctional relationship with my own mom when I was 16, hit me pretty hard ...

      Mama was dead.
      Thank you, Lord!

      And here's the chapter ending to the above scene, beautifully done:

      Now it was too late. Too late for Mama, too late for Rennie. Saddest of all, it was a year too late for Jenny.

      Hugs,
      Julie

      Delete
    2. I understand, Julie. I worked out a lot of my own "mother angst" in that book.

      And thank you for the compliment!

      Delete
  16. Hi Julie. I love these posts about scene and chapter endings. As I looked through my manuscript to find something to use, I realize how much work I need, especially on scene endings. I do better with chapters.

    I hope it's OK, but I am going to include two endings here that tie into each other. The first one includes a foreshadowing. I'm wondering if that sounds OK. The next one is a bit more dramatic.

    The background is that Courtney is a young woman who has been staying with her grandmother who is terminally ill. A tornado outbreak has been predicted for their town, but the grandmother insists on Courtney going out to buy candy to make and deliver May baskets to a local nursing home.

    “But Grandma, you heard the forecast. It’s almost guaranteed that we are going to have a tornado. I need to be home with you, not out traipsing around buying candy for people who probably don’t even need it!”
    Florence patted Courtney’s hand. “Please, honey. This is something I really want you to do for me.”
    Courtney sighed. “OK, I’ll go now. The storms probably won’t start until later this afternoon. I should be back in plenty of time.”

    Another scene at the nursing home when Courtney has learned the storm is imminent:

    Courtney raced outside. Her ears popped and the thick air hugged her like a tangled blanket. White clouds mixed with gray scudded the ominous sky. They moved slowly, forming jagged peaks that jammed together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that didn’t quite fit. Courtney’s breath caught in her throat. She had to get home now.
    With a flick of her wrist, Courtney pointed the key fob to unlock the car. As if on signal, the tornado siren blared at that exact moment.






    ReplyDelete
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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Okay, Sandy, I wanted to clarify something, so I deleted my first comment. I changed the "puzzle" analogy because for me it didn't mesh with the clouds as much as I wanted it to (clouds are soft, ethereal things, puzzles are hard and tactile), so I hope you don't mind.

      HUGS!!
      Julie

      Here's the rest of my comment:

      I really like the tension this scene sets up, Sandy, so here's what I came up with to ramp it up a wee bit. Hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of a few more powerful verbs because you need as many dramatic words as you can for something as powerful as a tornado and the fear it elicits.

      ***

      Courtney vented with a gusty sigh.“Then I better get going because they say it’s a fast-moving storm.” Pressing a kiss to Grandma’s head, she strode for the door and snatched her purse from the coat rack, her smile tight as she shot a grimace over her shoulder. “Forty minutes tops, and I should make it back home safe and sound, Grandma, so see you soon.” She swallowed hard as she closed the door behind her.

      I hope.


      ***


      The wind whipped hard against the trees outside the nursing home while Courtney raced to her car. Her heart constricted when a menacing bolt of lightning splintered the sky.

      Boom!

      A horrendous crack of thunder instantly rumbled, making her ears pop as the thick air hugged her like a tangled blanket. Ominous black clouds rolled across the heavens like a serpent, forming jagged peaks that devoured any blue left in the sky.

      Fingers quivering, she rammed her thumb to the key fob to unlock the car. Ice water shot through her veins when the beeps were lost in the wail of an eerie siren.

      Tornado!

      Heart in her throat, she hurled the car door open and vaulted inside, grinding the engine with a growl that rivaled the fear in her gut. Oh, Lord, help me please—I have to get home!

      NOW!

      Delete
    3. Thanks, Julie. You have definitely helped ramp up the tension with more details. I will keep this in mind. It helps me see what I'm missing.

      Delete
    4. I'm SO glad, Sandy, and I apologize for the delay. Crazy day yesterday!!!

      HUGS!!
      Julie

      Delete
  17. I have loved this series so much. I can't wait for this one. You are definitely a favorite author.

    Thank you,
    Stephanie C.

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    1. Aw, Stephanie, thank you SO much, my sweet friend! I hope you like book 3 as well. A number of blog-tour readers who have read it said it's their favorite so far, so hopefully you'll think so too!

      Good luck in the contest!!

      HUGS,
      Julie

      Delete
  18. Wow, Julie! Thanks for a great post. I've read a chapter ending should inspire readers to turn the page, but NO ONE has explained the "how to" as well as this post! This one is a keeper for sure!

    Timing is perfect. Working on three chapters and a synopsis to send to an editor...and trying to finish a ROUGH draft of the MS! Whoo-hoo...this, for me, is purely a God thing!!

    Hoping you all have a tea-riffic Wednesday!


    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oh, Kathryn, I am SO glad I could be of some help, my friend, so YAY!! And saying one for you RIGHT NOW for supernatural productivity AND supernatural favor, so you go, girl!

      HUGS!!
      Julie

      Delete
  19. Julie, this is a amazing, and you are amazing (but I already knew that!) Bookmarking this!!!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Aw, Pammy, BLESS YOU for those kind words. Now ... can you just repeat them to my husband because he has his doubts! ;)

      Hugs!!
      Julie

      Delete
  20. Julie, you are hilarious :) and informative! And kind! I don't have a chapter ending for you to review but I thank you for that amazing offer! Please do enter me in your drawing though :)

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks, Phyllis, for the blessings -- we SO appreciate those, trust me!!

      And, sweetie, I'll tell you what. When you have a chapter ending ready for me to look at, you just send it to me whether it's in a month or a year, okay?

      God bless you right back, my friend!

      Hugs,
      Julie

      Delete
  21. Great tutorial on "The Tease," Julie! Always love your blog posts. This one is a keeper, for sure!

    Love your hooks and closing lines. They deliver and keep the reader engaged and turning the page!

    Congrats on the success of your current series. Do you enjoy being the captain of your own ship, so to speak? I mean regarding indie publication. Seems it's been a perfect fit. Can you share what you've learned over the last few books?

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    1. Hey, Deb, thanks SO much, my friend! And make sure you read Jill's comment above because it's a huge compliment to you!

      As far as being the captain of my own ship, I will admit that I absolutely LOVE IT in every single way except monetarily. Yes, royalties are mostly mine, but I sure do miss those advances! ;) But I absolutely have a blast designing my own covers and calling my own shots. I'm even toying with the idea of using a self-formatting tool such as Calibre -- yes, ME, Miss Techno-Illiterate!! That's what indie publishing does for you -- it gives you confidence! :)

      Yes, I have learned a lot and would you believe I'm not a bit intimidated to go into any of my Amazon online books at any time and make changes, then re-upload whenever I want? That is SO freeing!! It's also fun running sales and promoting the way I want to promote. But hear me on this -- NOBODY promotes like a traditional publisher unless they are Nora Roberst or independently wealthy.

      Without question, the best-case scenario is being a hybrid author, which I am since I'm both traditionally published and indie published. But it needs to be a little both at all times rather than going strictly indie like I have for the last few years. I plan to begin an O'Connor cousins saga during WWII based on Natasha's encouragement, so I will try to pitch that to a traditional publisher to get back into true hybridism.

      HUGS!
      Julie

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    2. Thanks for sharing, Julie! So excited about your new series. Keep us updated!

      Delete
  22. Julie, thanks for the excerpts that showcase excellent ways to end scenes and chapters with a tease. You're a master at this! I always marvel at the depth of emotion/passion in your scenes and the strong sense of action you convey with word choice. No wonder you take a while to write your books!

    Janet

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    1. LOL ... yeah, no wonder! That and I'm the Queen of Anality, but oh well. It's just nice to be Queen! ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

      Delete
    2. So true!! You wear your crown well. :-)

      Janet

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  23. Hi Seekers, I'm back after a long sabbatical of taking care of business. Love this post, Julie. I've always had trouble with transitions. Thanks for the list. Your endings, as well as beginnings, always make your books shine. Ruthy isn't the only one who uses falling asleep as a ending. I have once when the nightmare began in the next scene.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. ELAINE -- WELCOME BACK, MY FRIEND!! SO glad the business sabbatical is behind you and you can write (and visit Seekerville!) again. :) We've missed you, my friend!

      And thank you, too, for your kind words -- I appreciate them more than I can say!

      Hugs!!
      Julie

      Delete
  24. Hi Julie:

    I've already pre-ordered "His Steadfast Love". I want to read the production copy and also review it as someone who has 'skin in the game'. I also like to have 'verified' reviews. It's more fun this way.

    BTW: I intend to use the structure and format of this post on one I'm doing in October. I'm working on it right now. Thanks again.

    Vince

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    1. Aw, Vince, that blesses me beyond measure, my friend -- THANK YOU!! Both for pre-ordering HSL and your compliment on the post. MUCH appreciated!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

      Delete
  25. Julie, did you see the scene I posted? You seem to have passed by it. I was anxious to hear your thoughts! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oh, Sandy, I am SOOO sorry!! Yes, I did see it, but was in the car at the time on a six-hour eye appt. out of town, and decided to quickly answer the short comments while I was in the car. Going up right now to answer it, my friend, and my apologies as I just got home about 30 minutes ago and have been going through emails instead. :|

      Hugs!!
      Julie

      Delete
  26. Oh, Sandy, I am SOOO sorry!! Yes, I did see it, but was in the car at the time on a six-hour eye appt. out of town, and decided to quickly answer the short comments while I was in the car. Going up right now to answer it, my friend, and my apologies as I just got home about 30 minutes ago and have been going through emails instead. :|

    Hugs!!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Julie. I'll watch for it. 6 hours for out of town appointment doesn't sound like good day.

      Delete
  27. No chapter/scene ending to critique, just admiration for your wonderful posts and beautiful writing. Were it not for my feelings of personal connection with the characters in "ISLE OF HOPE", I would wholeheartedly agree that "HIS STEADFAST LOVE" is the best, and my fave, of the 3 books in the series.

    I have to agree with VINCE'S advice: (23) Get edgy, or edgier - I should say, since your books already contain some edge. With no profanity or obscenity, what is wrong with including edginess that is realism by Christian characters in a Christian book, especially when it pertains to married couples?? It only speaks more loudly to those readers who need to be made more aware of what the truest most holy form of love, as defined by a loving God, entails!!

    I hope you didn't cut too much from "HIS STEADFAST LOVE" - I loved it as it was, but can always refer back to my PDF'S etc., LOL!!

    I must make a point of reading MYRA'S "Pearl of Great Price" also - it sounds wonderful!!

    Love your writing and love you!!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. BONNIE!! Oh, what a pleasure it is to see you here, my friend, with all you have on your plate!!

      You said, "what is wrong with including edginess that is realism by Christian characters in a Christian book, especially when it pertains to married couples?? It only speaks more loudly to those readers who need to be made more aware of what the truest most holy form of love, as defined by a loving God, entails!!"

      LOL ... this is only one of the GAZILLION reasons you and I connect so well, my friend, because we are soul sisters!!

      You also said: "I hope you didn't cut too much from "HIS STEADFAST LOVE" - I loved it as it was, but can always refer back to my PDF'S etc., LOL!!"

      LOL ... yes, that's where the steamy stuff will be for sure! ;) No, I just cut some lines like, "Good heavens, she hadn’t been this nervous since the night of her honeymoon, when Ben had skillfully disrobed her and made love to her twice, a breathless preamble to a week in a Hawaii bungalow on a very lonely beach." I had someone tell me that was a bit steamy, so it's gone now. Except in the PDF, of course, and here! ;)

      Miss you, Bonnie!!

      Hugs and more hugs,
      Julie

      Delete
  28. I'm not a writer, but would love to win a copy of your newest book! ;)
    I do dream of someday writing a novel. For right now, I'm sticking to thinking of a realistic setting, characters, plot, etc., and hope to someday develop it further. I found your post very informative! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hey, Rosalyn, THANK YOU, you sweet thing, and Seekerville has TONS of great things to help you when you do decide to write that book, so don't forget that, okay?

      Good luck in the contest -- here's to a win! :)

      Hugs,
      Julie

      Delete
  29. I wouldn't say I'm a drama queen but recently one of my favorite characters from a TV show was killed off and now whenever he appears onscreen when I re-watch earlier episodes (as I've been doing since I've been sick- hey I got to do something), I can't help but wail his name.

    I've been working on the ends to my chapters developing the hooks for the ends of my chapters, here's the end of my eighth chapter. My heroine has a concussion so her friends have been waking her up to check on her.

    I can't have gotten more than a few hours sleep before someone is shaking me awake again.

    “Go away,” I mumble still half asleep. I try to shove the person shaking me away, but the shaking is insistent until I finally open my gritty eyes. I glare at Easton. “You're a terrible person,” I grumble.

    Easton smiles. “What goes around comes around. Just remember, I got this idea from you.”

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, just deserts or not, I'm still mad at Easton.

    I'm also mad at myself. I forgot to find myself a rock before I fell asleep. Great, now I'm defenseless against the ruthlessness of the well meaning.

    Easton is suddenly serious. “How are you feeling?”

    “Tired.”

    Easton smiles. “All right, all right, I can take a hint.” He backs off so I can sleep.

    I settle back down and drift back off to dreamland.

    I can't have been back asleep for more than a few minutes, before Easton starts trying to wake me up again. This time by poking my side.

    I try to say, “Leave me alone,” but my mouth doesn't work so well and all I manage to get out is, “Uhhuhuhn.”

    I squirm trying to move away from the poking. It finally stops and I start to drift back off to sleep…

    Poke, poke.

    I'm going to kill that boy!

    “Easton, I swear if you poke me one more time I’m going to-” I don't finish my sentence because just then I pry open my sleep deprived eyes and see who is poking me.

    It isn't Easton.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, Nicki -- a fellow drama queen -- I love you already!!

      Okay, not sure if your book is a suspense or straight romance, so I made two sets of changes based on each genre.

      That said, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the final line -- EXCELLENT!! All I would do is add some action beats, which I tried to do below.

      SUSPENSE NOVEL:

      Poke, poke.

      I'm going to kill that boy!

      “Easton, I swear if you poke me one more time I’m going to—” The words lodge in my throat as I stare, all drowsiness lost of in cold wave of fear.

      Because it isn't Easton.

      STRAIGHT ROMANCE:

      Poke, poke.

      I'm going to kill that boy!

      “Easton, I swear if you poke me one more time I’m going to—” My breath catches as all words and drowsiness melt away, pulse taking off in a crazy sprint. I blink several times, suddenly aware of the warm gooey feeling swirling inside.

      Because it isn't Easton.

      HUGS!!
      Julie

      Delete
  30. Not sure whether I've gone too sappy/over the top or not... OK, first manned mission to space in two generations. Astraeus International was founded by Tess to get humans back into space. She's giving the two astronauts a "pep talk" before they head to the launch pad. (Fun fact, Jack is Tess' husband at this point in the story.)
    them.

    “I can’t possible tell you how proud I am to be standing here with you today. Everyone at Astraeus has poured their heart into this, including the two of you. You’ve been here since nearly the beginning, and I appreciate your hard work and dedication,” another deep breath and I reached out to grasp their hands in mine. “Enough with the speeches, right?” Jack just winked at me and I continued with a smile, “Go, listen to the stars for us, and come home safe.”

    “We make history today,” Hikari squeezed my hand before releasing it, “You’ve played no small part in that, Tess.”

    She took a step away and Jack took one closer, still holding my hand tightly in his, “Keep the light on for us.”

    I stood on my toes and left a quick kiss on his cheek before whispering, “Godspeed Jack Wright.”

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    Replies
    1. Hey, Teish, I LOVE IT!! Nice ending, my friend, and I wouldn't change a thing! You have the action beat in the perfect place to give the final line a nice punch, so GREAT JOB!!

      HUGS!!
      Julie

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  32. Hi Julie:

    I have a favorite scene from "Stranded in a Cabin with a Romance Writer" which I'll describe here to shorten it.

    Set up: the hero, Eric Hansen, a special forces captain, has been gone on a black ops mission for six months with no communications with the heroine or anyone outside his unit. The heroine, Mary Chance, and hero's sister, Sophie Hansen, are at an awards ceremony where both up for the same RITA award. (They are military romances in which the hero has served as a technical advisor for both women.)

    As a surprise the hero is secretly being brought back by the RWA to announce the winner in person. As a further surprise the announcement begins with a big screen 'live' feed of the hero in Afghanistan who is shown holding an envelop in his hand.

    There is a drum roll and the hero stands up and says: "And the winner of the RITA for best Military Romance is..."

    As he opens the envelop the lights go out in the banquet room.

    When the lights come back on, the hero is standing with the MC at the lectern!

    "I've decided I'd rather announce the winner in person."

    The crowd goes wild. The heroine screams and then slinks down deep into her chair so the other writers in the room can't see her. The sister jumps out of her chair and runs up to the stage to hug her brother.

    After a lot of hugs and cheers and applause, the hero says, "Before I announce the winner, I have one really big surprise for Mary Chance. He takes out a little velvet box and the room goes silent.

    Is this really going to happen?

    The heroine maneuvers out of her hiding slouch, stands tall on the table top where the whole room can see her and shouts, "And I've got one really big surprise for you, daddy!"

    Then her water breaks!

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    1. WHOA, Vince, that's quite an ending my friend, but I would LOVE a little more insight. I know the hero and heroine were stranded in a cabin, so I'm going to come at this from a secular romance viewpoint, which I believe your story is, yes?

      First of all, I wouldn't normally go for a proposal in front of a ton of people (too Hallmarkish for my tastes), but you know what? At a Romance Writers of America contest, it actually fits quite well, so kudos to you for coming up with it! A double surprise -- first the hero proposing in person when he's supposed to be in Afghanistan and then the surprise of her being pregnant. (I assume her pregnancy is supposed to be a surprise to him, right? Let me know on this point, and I will make my suggestions after, okay?

      Hugs!!
      Julie

      Delete
    2. Hi Julie:

      Yes, it is a secular story. It is also a meta-romance in that the characters know when they are acting like characters in a romance. Heroine is a romance writer and hero has been editing his sister's romances for years. Actually, they don't want to act like romance characters. The hero even draws up 15 rules of engagement when it becomes obvious that they are trapped in the cabin which by the way was mistakenly promised for the two weeks to both of them.

      One rule for example was that the hero would not cut firewood with his shirt off so she could see his muscles rippling from inside the cabin. Another rule was they were not to get up in the middle of the night to raid the refrigerator and accidently bump into each other with the hero instinctively holding her tight against his chest less she fall. Did you know there were at least 15 different ways hero and heroine are moved closer to a romance when in a cabin?

      The idea is to have every romance genre cliché happen in this story. It's not realism. It's meta-fiction. But it is written to seem real to the reader with lots of details. It is not going to be like your stories. It's a comedy but a very turn-paging story (I hope.)

      And yes, the hero does not know the heroine is pregnant. She thinks the hero has abandoned her since he disappeared with no word and there is no way to reach him. However, the hero did leave her several messages before he left but she never got them. It was a six month long black moment.

      There are always lots of questions, anywhere in the chapter, that the reader will want answered. Like who wins the RITA? Sister or heroine? Boy or girl? Will the hero survive the black op? When will the hero come back? Will the bear eat the heroine? Will the drug dealers get caught? Will the hero leave the Army to advance his country music hopes? Will the sister marry the hero's best friend? Will the heroine break out of her writer's block or will she go back to being a nun? It's just a fun book and extra fun for romance fans and writers.

      Vince

      P.S. The book is written and I'm on the second draft but every time I edit a section I think of more ways to make it funnier. Because funny things are really pantsered and you never know when they are going to come to you.

      Delete
    3. Oh, Vince, THANK YOU for "fleshing" this out for me, my friend -- it sounds SO fun!!! My thinking was that the heroine maneuvering out of her slouch (I pictured her sitting) to climb up on a table where everyone could see the water breaking was a bit unbelievable. It seems she would have to be hustled on stage where everyone could see, yes? That said, this is what I came up with:

      "Before I announce the winner, I have one really big surprise for Mary Chance." Smiling, Eric took a little velvet box out of his pocket and held it out, scanning the audience while a sea of gasps filled the room.

      Mary’s heart stopped before it shot straight to her throat. Oh dear Lord, is this really going to happen?

      Heart racing, she struggled to rise before Sophie just flat-out yanked her up. Dragging her up the steps to the stage, her best friend grinned at her brother with glee. “Yeah, but I bet her surprise is bigger than yours …”

      Eric’s jaw dropped along with his hand. Eyes trained on Mary’s body, he gaped as she waddled across the stage, her pregnant tummy burgeoning beneath a sea of rhinestones.

      She chewed on her lip. “Are you surprised?” she whispered with a misty smile.

      A slow grin slid across his handsome face. “Absolutely blown out of the water,” he said as he braced her arms, mouth still gaping while he scanned her head to toe. A knot ducked in his throat before he swallowed her up in a tight hug, the sheen of moisture in his eyes a mirror of her own. “I couldn’t be happier, Mary, and as God is my witness, nothing could have surprised me more.”

      A harsh breath caught in her throat as a cold sensation slithered through her, popping a gasp from her lips. She jerked from his arms and looked down at her feet, gulping at the milky water glistening on his perfectly shined shoes. “Uh, wanna bet?” she said, peeking up with a sheepish smile. “My water just broke.”

      HUGS!!
      Julie

      Delete
    4. Hi Julie:

      Wow! You really 'get it'. I wish we were a team! The revision is not only professional and polished, it's award winning quality...if only I could revise like that for the rest of the book.

      Do you ever do free lance editing?

      This is just wonderful. It inspires me to get back to work on that second draft edit.

      I'll be studying it a lot more tomorrow.

      I would add one more thing: the hero is well versed in romance and I would have him, on seeing the heroine in her enlarged state, rush to her, stand back, say, "You're positively glowing. I've never seen you more beautiful." I think the writers in the audience would melt at such understanding.

      Thanks so much! I'm going to print that ending out and post it in my office. Simply wonderful.

      Vince

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    5. LOL, Vince, no, I don't do free lance editing because I am Queen of Anality and a critique takes me HOURS (and sometimes days) longer than anyone else, so it wouldn't be very cost effective for me. ;) But THANK YOU for the compliment!

      I am just OVERJOYED that it has inspired you to get back to the 2nd draft edit -- YAY!!

      Hugs and more hugs!
      Julie

      Delete
  33. Julie, I'm so sorry to be late today! Looks like a meaty post. I look forward to going back and reading all your examples! Thanks for sharing the tips! I love to do fun chapter endings. :)

    I was particularly interested in that last one, the use of idioms. Love that!

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    1. Thanks, Missy, I thought the idioms was a good one, too, and one I never had really thought about before. :)

      Hugs,
      Julie

      Delete
  34. Loved this post,Julie !! As a reader it's fun to see just how many different techniques there are to ending chapters and scenes,Didn't realize there were so many! Must thank you ,too for the previews of His Steadfast Love,can't wait to read it! I just know it's going to be another Julie Lessman classic!!

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    1. Aw, THANK YOU, Lynne! I hope you like it, my friend. And I hope to have a mobi file for you soon! ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  35. Thanks Julie for such an informative post. I will print this article and the first one off. Whenever, Lord willing, I find the desire to write again, I will have it to look at. Since my Daddy's death on Halloween 2015, my desire for writing has left. Anyways, thanks for being a fabulous writer and sharing your wisdom. God bless!

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    1. Oh, Kelly, that breaks my heart about your daddy and your lack of desire for writing. Have you ever considered writing something for him or about him as a character in a novel? Just a thought.

      I am praying right now that God gives you back the peace, hope, and joy you once had in writing because it's His gift to you, and yours to the world when you write for Him!!

      HUGS AND MORE HUGS!
      Julie

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  36. Julie, thank you for such a helpful post/writing lesson. I'm sure it took a lot of your novel-writing time - you are generous. As I read, my mind was going click-click-click, grabbing onto ideas I can use in my writing. Best wishes with your new book!

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    1. Oh, Dana, don't you just LOVE those click-click-clicks??? SO glad this post could give you a few and God bless you in your writing!

      HUGS!
      Julie

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  37. Man, I wish I didn't miss this post! Glad my sister told me about it so I could go back and read it, though.

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  38. Hey, Boo, you didn't miss it, darlin' ... you're still in the draw, so GOOD LUCK in the contest!

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

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  39. I must repeat what so many before me have already said. You.Are.The.Queen!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. LOL, Connie, THANK YOU!! And YOU are a sweetheart for blessing me with your kind comment, so BLESS YOU, my friend!

      HUGS!!
      Julie

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