What? There are Parts of a Story?


To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence. ~Mark Twain

If I had a tagline on my blog, it would be this quote from Mark Twain. I am both ignorant and confident when it comes to my writing. I guess I can look forward to becoming a success.

Now that I’ve been blogging for a couple of months, and hanging with some pretty awesome writers, I’ve been learning about some of the finer points of writing.

I admit, I haven’t really cared about some of the advice and topics of discussion I’ve encountered, but others have definitely sparked my interest. Of particular note lately is the fact that a story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Well, duh! I started my story on page one, I wrote stuff, and it ended on page 200. I haven’t yet grasped why this is a topic that’s so widely written about, and as of this blog post, I still don’t fully understand.

Here, let me give away all of the good stuff in Sunshine Hunter, my first book:

Beginning – Susan finds out boyfriend is married.

Middle – Susan runs off to Florida with neighbor, so she can weep and gnash her teeth at the beach.

End – Susan forgives soon-to-be divorced boyfriend.

That’s a chick flick. Or more appropriately – chick lit.


So, what about the dead guy at the racquetball club? What about the guy stalking Susan and her friend in Florida? Are the conga line dancers really necessary? What’s the big deal about snickerdoodle cookies?

Did I write this story the correct way? I don’t know. The book takes place over the course of a week. I simply started at the beginning of a day in Susan’s life and went from there. And I think I even did that all wrong because she wasn’t strong enough to be her own heroine. I’ve read that your main character should show growth and strength over the course of your story, and they should find their own solutions. Ha! Not Susan.

I’m finding as I read articles about beginning, middle, and end, that they’re not clear. As a new writer, they haven’t helped me understand the concept – other than the obvious. The articles are complicated, discussing plot points, arcs, inverted checkmarks.  Climax. There is a climax in all of my books. I do have that right.

Shortly after the beginning of my book, Susan reminisces in her own mind about the day she met her boyfriend, and how their relationship progressed until the day she found out he was married – which is the beginning of the book! Ack! But I didn’t want to start at the beginning of the relationship; I wanted to start with the drama. So, I did a little time traveling, which I suspect is another blow to beginning, middle, and end in my book.

Before I leave this topic, at least for the time being, let me tell you what I did in my newest book, Big Easy Hunter. I have two beginnings, one middle, and two ends – complete with two climaxes. How do you like them apples?