Don’t, just don’t. Don’t tuck in every plot thread or solve every story problem, especially when it comes to secondary characters. Other writers have given in to this temptation, and their work would have been more powerful without it.
Follow the writer’s maxim: Resist the Urge to Explain. Solve the primary dilemma for your lead couple, and then let the river of life roll on. Otherwise you’ll end up with no real plot arc, like a soap opera.
Writer Kristen Lamb put it this way: “The Force was more interesting before it was EXPLAINED.” Leave those unresolved mysteries alone.
Your undeveloped ‘white spaces’ could springboard another book–but only if the dilemma is truly compelling. (This has been my struggle with continuing the Mercy’s Embrace series. Oh, there is drama, but nothing pivotal.) And don’t get me started on the subject of prequels…
So today’s excerpt is not an apt illustration, for I cannot give away what happens at the end. On the other hand, I must share something. So this is a snippet from Chapter 39 of Darcy By Any Other Name. After this scene, poor Kitty Bennet fades out of the story. Or rather, the pain and disappointment she experiences this night, when she struggles to keep a promise, is not resolved. We will see and hear her later, but the story focus swings back to Elizabeth and Darcy and Collins, leaving Kitty (and her sisters, mother, etc.) to find their own way. Fiction, like life, is hard like that.
Elizabeth struck out in what she hoped was the right direction. She had not gone far before rain began to fall. A flash of lightning lit the sky.
It was then that she saw the figure huddled on the lawn. Elizabeth threw caution aside. “Kitty!” she called. “Are you hurt?”
Kitty was gasping for breath. “She is not here, Lizzy,” she said. “I kept my promise and oh, she is not here.”
Elizabeth put her arms around her sister. “Come,” she said gently. “We must get out of the rain.” For it was raining steadily now, the drops hissing into the lawn. A roll of thunder shook the ground.
“I brought everything she asked for, even the money.” But the fight had gone out of Kitty. Another flash of lightning revealed the hat box and valise waiting forlornly near the Folly.
Elizabeth helped Kitty to her feet and together they stumbled toward an evergreen hedge. Too late she realized that it was holly. There would be more scratches here, but also shelter from the rain.
Tomorrow we’ll have R for Resonance. Thanks for reading!
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