January Theme: Beginnings…and Those Pesky Resolutions
By Marcia Thornton Jones
Happy New Year!

Our January theme of beginnings made me think of one of my favorite plotting exercises: writing bookends to a story. It’s a simple exercise that uses the opening of a work-in-progress to provide a-ha’s into character transformation and story resolution.

·      First write a brief opening scene.
·      Then copy/paste the opening scene and rewrite it as a mirrored ending that shows how the character has evolved as a result of his/her journey (use the same setting, descriptions, dialogue, and character traits but tweak them to convey transformation).
·      Based on the bookends, write a plot synopsis by summarizing what needs to happen to move the character from the story beginning to the rewritten resolution.
Such a loaded word. In writing it’s the end of the character’s story, but at this time of year it hints of goals and intentions; about beginning a personal journey.
I’ve never been successful with resolutions so I'm going to modify the above exercise in order to provide a few personal a-ha’s for my own story. Anyone else out there willing to accept the challenge to write a bookend summary for 2014?
Here’s how:
·      First write a brief beginning describing you as you are right now.
·      Then rewrite the beginning showing a transformed you on December 31, 2014.
·      Finally, write a summary showing what needs to happen between those two bookends in order to make that transformation a reality.

Now all that’s left is to live your plot!

Happy beginnings, resolutions…and all plot events in the middle!


  1. I love the idea of plotting my own arc the way I do my characters'. I'm definitely going to try this.

  2. This is a great, great suggestion--I can't wait to try it out.

  3. Love the bookends idea, Marcia. Exactly what I needed to read this morning.

  4. I love this, too. How will *I* grow and change as a character this year in the story of my life?

  5. Brilliant. I'm going to try this for my novel and for me, right now. Thanks so much!


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