Many times we can’t figure out when an article or story should end. The same goes for books, whether it is fiction or non-fiction.
As a writer, we have collected so much material that we keep on going long after the article, story or a book has reached its logical end.
What is that logical end?
The logical end is when you have made the argument.
Every piece of writing is making an argument.
Writing usually starts with an idea that often comes as a question or a problem. We explore that question, (like the question at the start of this post) and we make an argument.
Finding the argument in the story is a tool, and it can be used by filling in the blanks in the following line:
‘every …. can or should …’
This simple equation to be used to find the argument in your writing even before you started writing.
If your book is about travel writing your argument could be ‘every traveler can become a travel writer’ then give them ten steps to become a travel writer.
If your book is about taming a dog, the argument you could be making is ‘every dog can be tamed even the old and rigid ones then through your book you give them ten ways how the readers can do it.
If your book is about storytelling, the argument you are making is ‘every person should become a storyteller then give them ten benefits and teach them six elements of storytelling.
What you are doing through the argument is you are entering the mind of the reader and getting them to think differently, act differently, or teach something they want to learn.
You don’t want them to just read the article/ story/ book, you want them to do something with it.
It is easy to understand the concept of every piece of writing is making an argument in non-fiction, but what about fiction writing.
In fiction writing, the argument is made through the story.
Let’s have a look at arguments in some well-known stories.
The argument Shakespeare is making in Hamlet is, ‘everyone should stand for injustice.’
The argument of Romeo and Juliet is ‘the hatred can lead to bloodshed.’
The argument the movie Rocky is making that ‘even an underdog can win.’
None of these stories give ten points to prove the arguments they make, but they do it by weaving the argument within the story.
Because without an argument, there is no story.
If you’re telling your life’s story, it’s not just a story of survival, it’s a
story of hope and perseverance, and when somebody reads that story, they’re gonna get that too and apply that to their own situation, their own obstacles that they’re facing.
And when that story should end?
When the argument has been made.
It is that simple.
Anything after that is waffle weakens the story.
Now decide on what argument you are making, with whatever piece of writing you are doing, and stop as soon as you have made it.
Just like I am at this point.