It’s NaNoWriMo, and We Need a HEA

November 26, 2014

It’s NaNoWriMo in case you haven’t heard by now.  That’s National Novel Writing Month, and I’m bringing you a series of blogs on the 5 parts of a story to show how a 50,000 word novel can be written in 30 days.  The first three parts of this series are as follow:

  • Exposition
  • Rising Action
  • Climax

I’m going to combine the last two parts (or the last 20,000 words) into one post because one blends into the other.  So here we go.  Let’s start with…

Falling Action

For Love of the Earl: Book Two of the Spy SeriesI mentioned previously that a story develops an arc.  Falling action is the downside to the story arc, and it can again be as long or as short as you’d like it to be.  In For Love of the Earl, the falling action was longer because there were still internal conflicts for Sarah and Alec to overcome after defeating the external conflict of being held prisoners by the French.  In Gone with the Wind, it’s very short.  Melanie Wilkes dies, Scarlett realizes want she really wants, and Rhett leaves.  That’s it, folks!  That is all of the falling action for that story.  And that’s perfectly fine.  The falling action should only be comprised of the necessary events to carry the characters to the HEA, happily ever after or resolution, of the story.

There are words 30,001 through 40,000 of your 50,000 word novel.


As the name would suggest, this is the last part of the story.  And as I mentioned earlier, I’m combining these two elements to a single post because they tend to blend together.  As for Scarlett O’Hara, Rhett leaves and that is literally the end of the story.  Scarlett returns to Tara because it is the one constant source of love in her life.  And roll credits.  The resolution can be that short, and it can be that clouded with falling action elements.

Here are the things you want to accomplish:

  • The hero and heroine need to achieve the goals set forth at the beginning of the story.
  • The hero and heroine need to have overcome the external conflicts.
  • The hero and heroine need to have overcome the internal conflicts.

If these things are accomplished, you have the last 10,000 words of your 50,000 word novel.  And yes, you did write that novel in 30 days.  Remember, a book is a contract with the reader.  A reader is expecting these 5 parts, and a reader will be upset if they are not delivered.  So the next time you sit down to write a book, break it up into these smaller 5 parts, and it won’t seem so daunting.

If you did participate in NaNoWriMo this year, give us a shout in the comments about tricks you used to achieved your word counts.

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