Friday, November 30, 2012

Endings and Beginnings--Finding the Reader-Satisfying "Loops" in Your Story

Recently I finished a pretty good story.  It is making the rounds of my friends who love literary fiction, and I'd gotten at least three recommendations, which made me reserve it at our library.

It's a debut novel by M.L.Stedman, called The Light between Oceans.

Gorgeous title and very interesting premise--a lighthouse keeper and his wife who live on a remote island off the coast of Australia find a baby in a boat that washes up on shore. The wife, desperately childless after three miscarriages, argues to keep the baby.  The husband wants to contact the mainland and let them know, thinking that some mother there will be equally desperate.  But the wife wins, they keep the child, and their world cracks in unexpected ways.

Although I love reading just for reading's sake, I have a writer's high expectations.  I found the writing lovely, with generous use of images and tense character interaction.  The setting of the rocky island and its isolation, the keen details about the lighthouse, were amazingly crafted. 

The thing that really bothered me was Act 3--the way the writer wrapped up the ending of this marvelous story.