Tuesday, January 24, 2012


My cousin was here visiting this week and he asked me how my book was going. I tried to explain to him that I was working on the denouement.

I said: “You know, I’ve written the climax already. It’s just the stuff that comes after the climax, the denouement,” only I don’t know how to say denouement so it sounded like I was a ninth grader on the first day of French class. Or a white-tennis-shoed-very-American-tourist bouncing around Paris and butchering the language. And to drive in the fact that I didn’t know how to pronounce denouement, I repeated it like three times.

Each time I said it differently.

My nine-year-old son was working on some legos on the couch. I was unaware he was even listening to the conversation. Without even looking up, he explained to my cousin, “Falling action, resolution.”

What the what?

Me, sitting on the rocking chair, mouth agape. “Yes,” I finally said. “Like that.”

In my defense, I work with words all day long. I’m constantly in word overload. I find myself tripping over the most common everyday words. Words like of or because. I’m thinking about bringing my son around with me everywhere. I can just punch him in the shoulder when I need a word.

Do you have this problem too?

Also, how long should a denouement/falling action/resolution be? When is it too long? When is it too short? Thoughts?

Also, I’m proud of my son because he doesn’t exactly fit into the public education box at school. His teachers wanted to retain him in kindergarten, first and second grade. You can read about it here.

Clearly, they were wrong. He’s a genius!

Also, how do you pronounce denouement?


  1. day. new. ma.

    I might, of course, be way off base.

    It is too long. Whatever you have, it is too long. Anything after the climax is anti-climactic, so cut cut cut as much as possible. That said, I read a novel where it was like one page, and I was like WHOA WHOA WHOA . . .

    Best way is to make sure you have at least one low-intensity but interesting subplot after the climax that needs to be tied up.

    1. Taryn, you know me too well. I think you're right. Without even seeing it, you knew it was too long. Argh. You're like a freaking mind/MS reader!

      *cutting denouement*

  2. I'm the opposite. I ask myself, what's that word for falling action, you know the part after the climax? I have to look it up to figure out it's denouement. And it should be short. Although I have read too short before, as in 'this feels so out of pace with the book-way too short'. I probably go to long in my books, though.

    1. Actually, thinking back on your MS (ASF). I think your denouement was perfect. You might have to help me more with mine!!!

      I'm pretty sure mine's not too short. Easily too long.

      But I want the story to keep going on and on and on. Won't my readers? :)

  3. Hi!
    I happened to stroll into your yellow wallpaper E-room!
    For me there is no such thing as the middle, there is a beginning and then I start wrapping things up.
    I agree with Taryn, everything after the climax is anti-climatic, unless it contributes something to the BIG plot.
    Also: I think not fitting in boxes sounds like a really good thing :-)

    1. I'm starting to think you and Taryn are right and that maybe my 'tying up strings' is too anti-climatic. *More revisions*

      Yikes, will it never end? And yes, not being able to fit in a box is a VERY good thing.