Interview your protagonist

I devoured the July/August 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest as soon as it hit my mailbox last week. It was packed with tips and ideas that I have already put into practice as I continue to polish my manuscript for The Spanish Coin.

One idea James Scott Bell shared in his article, “Vitamin C For Your Thriller,” was particularly helpful and enabled me to enrich my book’s ending. Mr. Bell made the following suggestion: “Go forward in time 20 years after your story ends…. You’re now a reporter and you track down the character and ask, ‘Looking back at everything that happened to you, why do you think you had to go through that? What life lesson did you learn that you can pass on to the rest of us?’…. Now use all your skills to demonstrate that lesson at the end of the story itself, without necessarily using words.”

I asked my protagonist those two questions, and her response filled two pages as fast as I could write. The process gave me a perspective that no other exercises had given me. My book has a more satisfying ending, thanks to Mr. Bell’s recommendations.

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