It’s a French word, literally meaning, “untie the knot.” It’s the point in a story where the conflicts, entanglements, and challenges are resolved. Without giving too much away, I can tell you this – there are three (yes, three!), separate plots that have to be resolved and “untied” in The Ghost Writer. A complicated trio of entanglements have to be sorted out and brought to a satisfying conclusion for the writer, reader, and the characters themselves. So, what are we dealing with here?
The Story Itself
The overall story needs to be wrapped up and resolved. The main character, Jenna Hickson, lives through a life-changing event that sets her on a path she never dreamed of. As she finds the strength to move on, she encounters challenges and setbacks along the way. Of course, the story has to have those, or it’s not worth reading, right? There are doubts and times when giving up would be the easy route to take. There are also heartwarming, happy moments. All of these events need to be brought to a satisfying and memorable conclusion for the reader.
Jenna is not a writer! She’s a travel agent living in New York City who arranges a variety of travel experiences for clients and writes travel blogs for Posey Travel’s website. That’s the extent of her writing experience and ability. Circumstances along the way lead her to discover the partial draft of a story set in 14th century Scotland. It’s not the entire story. In fact, it’s just in the beginning stages. Somehow, she is determined to figure it out and finish it, for reasons you’ll learn along the way; she also finds help where she least expects it! The 14th century story has its own set of characters, challenges, and obstacles to overcome, and all of those need to be “untied” at the end.
If what is happening in present-day New York City and 14th century Scotland isn’t enough, Jenna is having dreams that are a separate story playing out in her mind. The dreams are chronological, vivid, and colorful. She is able to resume the dream where the last episode left off, and she remembers the events and experiences of the drama playing out in her mind. Some of it is very logical and believable, some of it is not. Flying rowboat, anyone?
The instinct of this writer is to wrap things up and ensure no loose ends are left dangling. Conflicts need to be resolved (one way or another), items of significance mentioned and pointed out to the reader need to have their importance/presence justified and/or explained, and the plot of the story needs to find its way to a satisfying end. Whether you wrap things up with a pretty, red bow or untie the complex strands of a story, the final outcome should be the same – reach a satisfying conclusion to a story told well that will leave readers breathing a sigh of relief or longing for more. Hopefully, both.