There is only one way to the ending


And it goes THROUGH the plot, through the characters, through the planning that an extreme plotter like me goes into great detail to connect.

Novels start with ‘WHAT IF?”

And must continue to the bitter end, or their promise is compromised by the very one who created them, because of FEAR.

I admit it. It’s going to get rough, very rough, for my characters – as I’ve known since this story came to me.

There is no way this ‘WHAT IF?’ works – except my way. The way I designed to answer that question TWENTY YEARS AGO.

A great portion of that time has been spent making sure it is the ONLY way I can write THIS story.

The Resistance Journal tells the story

Saturday July 25, 2020 at 6:02 PM

All I need to do is in front of me: finish this scene, finish the next, … – get on with it.
Nothing is going to change in the plot.
I can’t make it sweeter or more palatable – and it is NECESSARY.

And then … steps up and decides to fight for what … wants.
This is what I’m writing.
This is what I designed.
This is what’s foretold in the …
Nothing has changed.

I have removed (…) the pieces that would give away too much of the plot.

The angst is real. Writers bleed with their characters.

We don’t LIKE causing pain: it is NECESSARY.

Our characters have to grow, change, evolve, show us the consequences of their decisions in their lives – because this is the entire purpose of fiction: showing readers what happens when different life choices are made.

Have readers ever thought about this?

I know I never did, as a reader. When Agatha Christie killed someone off, I never wondered if it caused her personal pain.

When Dorothy L. Sayers denied her detective the woman he loved, I cried (metaphorically) into my (metaphorical) hanky – but I never wondered much what it cost Sayers.

Now I understand – because I WRITE

No mother ever reared a child without that child crying. Not successfully, anyway.

Not with a child who grew up with the tools to become an adult (they still have to do so much work after we leave them be).

Writers get to be judge, jury, and executioner.

We also get to commit the crime, and be the detective, and work in the hospital where the crushed bodies come in to be healed.

This is what we do:

We torture characters after we make readers care for them.

To show their humanity.

It’s getting harder.

My beta reader tells me she gets what I’m doing.

She calls me a horrible person, too. Which is fine.

You don’t get to have an influence without challenging the status quo.

And it’s going to get a lot worse before it’s better.

I promise: eventually it will be better.

But it has to be EARNED.

Thanks for listening

It’s particularly hard right now.

And I worry about whether readers will decide this is the place where they stop reading.

But then I remember they sat through The Silence of the Lambs.

I’m not THAT bad.

And I mean well. Really.



9 thoughts on “There is only one way to the ending

  1. joey

    I’m sure it’s necessary. Do you find it easier to write the hard, icky bits in the midst of all the hard, icky reality? I write darkly lately, hence, not blogging often.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Hard – but for the same reasons as always: will I be able to stay a writer who gets read if I tell the truth as I see it.

      I’m an optimist, but the outside reality has been grim. So is the reality in the novels I’m writing – it has to go down before it can go up – or it is not believable, and believable, plausible, are the way I want a reader to feel at the end.

      My beta reader is a perfect bellweather. She responds the way I need – not to humor me, but because I trigger those responses.

      I then have to decide what response I’m aiming for – that’s the work part. The story works so much better if I do my job.

      As for blogging, if I don’t have something I need to say – and not much is happening in general – I can’t manufacture it. So if something crosses my path, I grab it.

      There have been enough ‘somethings’ in our little community to provide me with fodder: and we just got notice two more staff members have covid-19, so the county has put us on a higher level of alert until the whole staff tests negative for 14 days. They’re testing once a week, so I guess that means three consecutive tests.

      Residents are not included in the testing – yet. Except for the couple who are in complete quarantine in their apartment, and who brought the virus in from the outside world somehow.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. acflory

    This: ‘showing readers what happens when different life choices are made.’ It doesn’t matter what genre a story occupies, ultimately this is what it’s all about. Stay true.


      1. Lloyd Lofthouse

        Months ago before the pandemic, I watched an on-stage interview (for me it was a YouTube video) with George R. R. Martin, the Games of Thrones author. An audience member complained about the death of a well-liked character and asked if he was going to kill off any more of the good guys.

        Martin said something like, he was tired of fans asking him questions like that and if they didn’t stop he’d kill off all the best-loved characters.

        Liked by 2 people


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