13.49: How to Finish

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Amal, and Maurice

Last week we talked about character death. This week we talk about other, less fatal ways in which a character story can be finished, and how we, as writers, can tell when we’re done with a character arc.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Andrew Twiss, and mastered by Alex Jackson.


You’re about to cut into a cake… and it speaks.
(Note: the phrase “the cake is alive” might qualify as “low-hanging fruit.”)

This is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El Mohtar and Max Gladstone
(note: Between the time we recorded and the time this episode aired the publication date was pushed back. The novel is, however, available for pre-order.)

6 thoughts on “13.49: How to Finish”

  1. The Chicago quartet, Brandon, Mary, Amal, and Maurice, talked about finishing. Not furniture, just character arcs. The C in MICE, circles, motivations and goals, literary dangers, happy, unhappy, tragic, satisfaction… and sacrifice, even when characters get what they want? Read all about it in the transcript available in the archives and over here:


  2. My Battle with Battles…
    (battling my sticking point)

    Hi guys,

    Big fan from Bulgaria here…

    …And an aspiring writer.

    Currently I’m writing a first draft of a grimdark fantasy, soft magic, late-antiquity setting… And I’m stuck at the “BIG BATTLE” before the climax.

    Usually I plow through whenever I’m stuck – I can free write to discover plot, dialogue, character, even fights – I had gladiator fights first half of the book which I got no problem writing…

    But for some reason when I got to the “BIG BATTLE”, which is a siege of a big city, I….just….CAN’T….WRITE…. :(

    Now I don’t *need* your help (although I’ll gladly take it)… I’ll just read nothing but battles for the next ten days and siege my sticking point and attack it with 3000 words strong each day and burn that Stucktown to the ground. And from the remains I’ll build a battle so epic, the bards will sing songs about it for a thousand years.

    Anyway… my question is could you do an episode on big battles next season? How to write them, what to include, what not, etc. Antiquity battles, Medieval battles, modern battles, space battles… That would be awesome.

    Thank you for all you do!

Comments are closed.