A story’s resolution is bittersweet. Bitter, because the story is about to end, but sweet, because what was wrong has been made right.
You’d think writing the justice scene would be easy. But crafting that scene is challenging because it’s so important. The villain deserves his comeuppance and the victim, vindication.
Readers love justice. By the last page, we want to see the problem rectified and the evil overcome. We don’t want the murderer to escape punishment (unless it’s a sequel, and even then, we want the villain to eventually be apprehended or reformed).
Those new endings, where justice doesn’t prevail? Not a fan.
Here are tips for writing justice into your story.
Take lessons from life. We wait years for justice to be dispensed. Bring that kind of tension to your story, and you’ll have a true nail-biter.
Let your emotions dictate the scenes. In real life, we must be patient, swallow our words, and play by the rules. Not so in writing. Your victim can be as proactive as you desire. My critique partner, Kara Hunt, is genius at this. Her passionate characters leap to action.
Walk the line. This doesn’t contradict the previous statement. Your administration of justice must be credible, or your readers will be rolling their eyes. Elect realism over fantasy. Unless, of course, you’re writing fantasy.
The punishment should fit the crime. You could murder your villain over her infidelity, but wouldn’t it be more satisfying to watch someone be unfaithful to her? The sow and reap principle fulfills, and in most cases, exceeds, reader expectation.
~ Jericha Kingston
image from morguefile.com