Friday, November 18

10th Key Scene: The Wrap Up

10th Key Scene: The Wrap Up

Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.” —Ray Bradbury

In honor of NaNoWriMo, every day this month I’m blogging about a key scene, one that any suspenseful story will include, either implicitly or explicitly. So far I've posted articles about the Inciting Incident, the Lock-In, Tests and Trials, Pinch Point One, the Midpoint Crisis, the All Hope is Lost scene, the Epiphany and the Climax.

Today I'm going to talk about the Wrap Up.

The Wrap Up: Breaking It Down

In the Aftermath, or Wrap Up, the audience sees the effects of the hero's efforts. Here you must answer the questions:

  • How did the hero's Ordinary World change as a result of her adventure?
  • What was his reward? What was the cost of his failure?

Or, as Jim Butcher puts it in Story Climax:

“RESOLUTION: Time to hand out the medals, kiss the girl, go to the wedding, put the star on the Christmas tree, raise the curtain on the rock concert, attend the funeral, or otherwise demonstrate that with the conclusion of the story, some kind of balance has been restored. The catharsis is complete, the tension eased, and the reader can catch their breath now.

“My advice to you on resolutions: Keep it short. Once you've gotten through the Showdown, write as sparingly as possible to get to the end, and don't draw anything out any more than you absolutely must. You've already kept your poor reader up until 3:30, your heartless bastard. Let them get some sleep before they have to rush off to their shift in two hours!” (Jim Butcher, Story Climax)

In my experience the Wrap Up is short, about half as long as an ordinary chapter. The story is over, there’s no more work to be done. Wrap things up quickly and type those two beautiful words: The End.


  • What is your protagonist’s story goal? Did your protagonist achieve the goal?
  • If so, what did your protagonist and her allies gain? What did the world gain?
  • If not, what did your protagonist and her allies lose? What did the world lose?

Does your writeup communicate this? If so, great!


There is no difference between genres!

Every post I pick a book or audiobook I love and recommend it to my readers. This serves two purposes. I want to share what I’ve loved with you, and, if you click the link and buy anything over at Amazon within the next 24 hours, Amazon puts a few cents in my tip jar at no cost to you. So, if you click the link, thank you! If not, that’s okay too. I’m thrilled and honored you’ve visited my blog and read my post. :-)

Today I want to recommend Dialogue: The Art of Verbal Action for Page, Stage, and Screen, by Robert Mckee. From the blurb: “... in DIALOGUE, McKee offers the same in-depth analysis for how characters speak on the screen, on the stage, and on the page in believable and engaging ways. From Macbeth to Breaking Bad, McKee deconstructs key scenes to illustrate the strategies and techniques of dialogue.”

That’s it! This is the last post this week, I’ll talk to you again on Monday. :-)

Good luck in the final stretch of NaNoWriMo!

Word count so far: 21,854
Word count for today: 600
Total words this month: 22,454

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