Power Positions

About a week ago, Nancy Kress talked about something that made my brain get 2x bigger: Power positions in stories.

Her point: endings are powerful. They are the power position. All endings.

She meant don’t pull your punches when you get to the end of anything. Drive it through.

This means:

  • Sentence level.  The last word is a powerful word. Don’t end on a word or phrase that doesn’t matter.
  • Paragraph level. The last sentence is a powerful sentence. Make it fierce.
  • Scene level. The last paragraph in a scene is a powerful paragraph. End strong, and with as much energy pointed to the next scene as possible.
  • Story level. The ending. Stick it. Make it blow your readers’ minds. Don’t stop writing and revising until it does.

You can look at this from small to large, or large to small, but Nancy’s point was that everyone has to look to the power positions, all the time, and not weaken them with excess words, fluffy conclusions, or soft landings.

I’d been looking for ways in which to stick my landings on my stories.  Nancy handed one to me on a silver platter.  I’m very grateful.


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