Here's a snippet from the end of The Old, Dead Nuisance (and yes, it's a big spoiler).

For context, during the middle of the story Paul develops a relationship with the main ghost in the house, Josiah, who gives him hints about a fortune hidden right under everyone's noses.

Too late, Paul realises the fortune is a priceless Chinese Shang-dynasty vase—which has been destroyed in a tantrum by one of the fake psychics on the haunted house show.

When you read this snippet, compare Paul here to Paul at the beginning. How has he changed?

Paul's father picked up a piece of heavy, green clay. "Like a Ming vase?"

"Not Ming. Shang," whispered a voice. It was the ghost of Josiah Smitch. He was sitting next to Paul, apparently invisible to everyone else. He looked glum. "Much older than Ming," he said. "Priceless."

"Are you sure it's Ming?" Dennis asked Paul. "It looks kind of ugly."

Mrs. Giovetti explained, somewhat unhelpfully, "I used it to hold fake flowers."

"Not Ming," Paul muttered. "Shang."

They all turned in surprise to look at him.

Josiah Smitch, invisibly, nodded.

The psychics looked ready to argue.

But then again, now Paul, apparently, was a psychic too.

Paul has changed dramatically:

  • He can see and communicate with ghosts.
  • He knows about the hidden treasure.
  • He is, apparently, psychic.

He's reversed positions from where he started.


We've highlighted just the lines that show how Paul has changed since the beginning.

The lines about Josiah are highlighted because he's a ghost, and the fact that Paul can see and hear him is a massive change.

To apply this pattern, all we need to do is describe the character in a different state as a result of whatever happened in the middle of the story.

We could do that in a summary description, like this:

Four years later, Elena graduated with honors and a research assistant position with a lab in Monterey. Sure, grant-writing days sucked, but lab days were good, and field days were the best—especially if they went out on the ocean, sampling for microplastics.

She loved the wild clouds and the restless ocean, and she loved her job, which she saw almost as a kind of medicine, with the earth as her patient.

Or we could develop a more detailed scene, like this:

"You're home early," said his mum. "You're not training?"

"No," said Tom. He rolled over in bed and faced his phone.

"Did they cancel?" said his mum, pushing him in that suspicious-mum way.

"Yes," said Tom, as he made a show of pushing his earpods in harder.

"I didn't get a message about it."

"I didn't say they cancelled, I said I cancelled!" shouted Tom. "I cancelled soccer! I don't want to play anymore"

His mum started to say more stuff in that 'oh, what's wrong, what can I do' blah blah concerned way, but Tom didn't want to hear it.

All he wanted to do from now on was watch TV and be left alone. He jacked up the volume to drown her out and closed his eyes, so all he could hear was the sound of explosions.

Even though we haven't talked about connectors at all in these last few activities, the underlying logic of cause and effect is still critical.

  • Think about where your character began.
  • Think about the types of experiences you described in the middle.
    • How would that middle impact on your character? Where would they end up? How would they change?
    • What is the logic: how do the middle experiences create the end change? Does the cause and effect make sense?
  • Then write either a summary description or an enacted scene about how the character is now different.
Describe where your character might end up after the experiences of the middle of your story. How much have they changed from the beginning?

Now let's pull all three together.