OpenFiction [Blog]

Description – Chapter endings

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on August 9, 2005

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In writing a novel, I am really getting to recognize the techniques I lean on and use again and again. One clear tendency I have is to end chapters (or in some cases, passages) with description. Two examples from early in the novel:

End of Chapter 3:

It didn’t take much imagination to picture the damage a wall of water and churning concrete might do to Edenboro’s waterfront. The dark clouds above brought the town ever closer to such a possibility as rain swept across the valley in sheets, each drop of it collecting in rivulets and creeks, pulled downward by gravity, adding weight to the rushing mass that crested the dam below.

End of Chapter 5:

I did not know then how our lives might become enmeshed, but it made me happy in that moment to know that the wounds were starting to heal. Who knew what she thought of me, or even if she thought of me at all, but suddenly the night air flowing in the truck’s window felt vibrant to me in a way it had not before the meeting. The rain had stopped, and the wisps of cloud and fog that clung to the ground blew past my headlights like the passing of ghosts.

I use this kind of description more often than not in ending chapters. Not exclusively, but enough that it’s clearly emerged as a pattern. I often become impatient with writers who lean on one or two techniques throughout novels, and so I’m always on the lookout for this kind of thing in my own writing. The goal is not to eliminate the use of techniques, but to be sure I vary them enough throughout that they don’t become an affectation or distraction.

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