The Manuscript Shredder’s NaNoWriMo Plot Point Calendar is now a Scrivener Template
This is it, the end of the story, now we have to tie it all together by showing the new normal
What is the new normal
The new normal is a short scene that shows what the hero’s life will be like from now on. This shows the reader what has really changed in the character’s world. Without this scene, the story will feel incomplete and rushed. The falling action scene won’t bring the tension down completely. You need to show the new normal.
In Inside Out the new normal is Riley playing hockey again. This is an important scene because it shows that she has now adjusted to life in San Fransisco and answers a question earlier in the movie.
In the Lego Movie, the new normal is shown when the man upstairs is playing alongside his son. We see how the rules of Bricksburg have changed.
Showing the new normal
Before you start this scene, make sure you have answered all questions and all the subplots finished (unless you saved one for this scene)
Make sure you write a complete scene
If you are writing in deep POV this is especially important. Make sure your character still has goals and even conflict. (Only this time, the conflict is minor)
ex. your POV character is sitting at the breakfast table and little brother is still hogging all the syrup.
Avoid exposition and telling
Summarization is fine for the transition, but you need to end with an actual scene, otherwise, your ending will feel rushed. This is especially important in deep POV. You cannot just say, “and they lived happily ever after.” You must show it.
Hints for closing scenes
Replay the opening scene but now showing everything that has changed. This can work for stories that have huge changes in setting. A hero may have started the story eating breakfast alone and ended with a new family. The movie Shawn of the Dead used the technique to great effect by showing Shawn’s slacker roommate who, despite becoming a zombie, had exactly the same life as before the story began.
In this ending, a reoccurring theme from the book re-emerges in a twist. Ex. a character who can never find his keys realizes they were in his pocket the whole time.
In Inside Out, Riley, who was struggling with the move, had decided to quit hockey. In the final scene, we see that she has started playing again. This works because it answers the question raised in the subplot and it also demonstrates that Riley has adjusted to her new life.
The Lego Movie uses this device by having the Duplo aliens invade. This works because it demonstrates the true feelings of the son at learning that his sister will also be allowed to play in Bricksburg.
Be careful with this one. There is nothing more annoying than a hackneyed cliffhanger attempt. Don’t chop your story in half trying to get people to buy the sequel. If you have strong enough characters, people will continue to follow them. Every novel should be a complete story.
When is it really over?
Writing an ending line can be just as frustrating as the opening line. You will likely change it half-a-dozen times in the editing. Ending lines must tie everything up and give the reader a sense of finality. In your draft, just stop when the scene naturally ends. As you reread the right place to end will usually present itself.
Congratulations, you have finished NaNoWriMo
If you’ve followed this plot guide, you will have a solid, logical plot that won’t take as much time to edit. Let it rest for a few weeks before you begin. Now go get your winner’s goodies.
Final scenes don’t have to be difficult or boring. This is the best part of the draft. Show your hero’s new world and how she will live in it. You’ve finished. Now type “The End.”
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The Hero’s Problems Deepen
The final battle part 2 is the last step before the climax. Today you will be covering two points: the antagonist pushes back and the hero’s second battle.
The Antagonist’s Final Push
At this moment victory for the hero seems inevitable. Then, the antagonistic forces emerge even stronger.
This is such a common plot point that many clichés have emerged.
the surprise resurrection
Here the villain appears dead, but when the hero creeps up to investigate, the villain suddenly jumps up and is now somehow not only unhurt, but actually stronger than he was before. This might have worked in the 90’s but for the modern audience , this is no longer believable. Everyone knows this is not the moment to get stingy with your bullets. Double tap that guy and get out of there.
Villain/hero can absorb a ridiculous amount of damage
Unless you are Wonderwoman battling Aries, actual people cannot absorb unlimited numbers of bullets/punches/blood loss. Yet, for some reason, writers who were reasonable with the limits of the human body lose touch with reality for the sake of an exciting climax. All this does is make your ending sound ridiculous. If you need more tension, get closer to the hero’s suffering. A bullet anywhere in the torso puts your hero out of the action, period. There are plenty of resources online that will give you the limits of the human body. Don’t ignore these.
In the Lego Batman Movie, Batman fails to stop the Joker and now Gotham is pulling apart.
In Inside Out, Joy has made it back to headquarters but she’s stuck outside the glass.
Both these moments show the antagonistic forces emerging to cause more problems for the hero.
Some rules for good villainy
- New problem must be believable. Villain doesn’t get any surprise powers.
- No deus ex machina (your villain doesn’t get away with it either)
- Your villain is a person too. He must follow the same worldbuilding rules.
- Everything must already exist in your villain’s world. (Lord Business released an army of Micromanagers, something he already had. In Lego Batman, Joker watched a news story that talked about the flimsy plates supporting Gotham.) If you need to go back and foreshadow something, make a note in your story and pick it up in your first round of edits.
The Hero’s Second Attack
The second attack must have something to distinguish it from the first.
Emmet attempts to teach Lord Business that he is the special too
Batman must convince Joker to work with him to put Gotham back together
Rather than being a simple fight between the two, the second half of the battle relates to the theme. This makes it more meaningful to the story.
In Inside Out the second half of the final battle begins after Joy has gotten into headquarters, and now she must convince Sadness to take the control panel so she can stop Riley from running away. Here we see the results of Joy’s character arc: Sadness can help.
Now make it better
It’s easier to make the second half of your fight the same as the first (now with bigger explosions!), but this won’t give the reader what she wants.
Have the hero use what she had learned from the theme to solve her problem.
If you don’t have a theme, have the hero use her brain to solve the problem. This will produce a more satisfying ending than just pounding the “x” button.
This is the last step before the climax. The hero is almost there. Don’t ruin your ending by falling into cliché and lazy solutions. Your hero has already had an epic journey, give her the final battle she deserves.
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At the Second Plot Point the Hero Learns His Lesson
The second plot point is the final piece of information the character needs to complete his arc and finally solve his problem.
- Emmet learns that “special” is a state of mind
- Joy learns that her favorite memory started sad
Characteristics of the Second Plot Point
Must be the final piece of the puzzle, but the character may or may not realize the significance at the time.
When Vitruvious tells Emmet that the only thing something needs to be special is to believe, Emmet is inspired into action. However, at this moment he thinks the new information means that everyone in the room had the power to be “the special.” With this knowledge, he is able to save the others through self-sacrifice, believing that someone else will be able to finally stop Lord Business.
The lie can no longer exist alongside the new information. Before the character could rationalize evidence that was inconsistent with his lie, but after this point, he cannot.
Once Joy sees that Saddness helped Riley process loss and grief and that leads to Riley’s happiest memory, Joy can no longer deny Saddness’s role in Riley’s mental health.
Must propel the character into action.
Both Joy and Emmet were paralyzed during their dark moment (all hope is lost). Once they had the new information, they were inspired into action. Before this moment, Joy believed that to save Riley, she had to save herself. After the new information she realizes that to save Riley, she really needs to save Saddness.
It is the pivot point in the story
The Second Plot Point is the final event in the third section. This is a critical point in the story. Everything has been building steadily to this moment. This marks the end of any set-up. Past this point, you should not introduce any new elements. Everything the hero needs to win must already be in play. No 11th-hour twists.
The second plot point marks the final lesson for your character
The second plot point makes true victory possible. It’s the final piece of the puzzle. This is what your character has been searching for. Now, it’s time for the final battle to begin.
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