Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The End is Just the Beginning

You are ready to write. You have a rock solid story idea. You have your characters defined. You’ve got one or two punchy sentences lined up. You’ve even - and this is the big one – you’ve even got the ending planned out.

You’re happy because you know that having an ending in mind can make the writing process a breeze.

You sit down to write. You spend ten minutes writing. You spend an hour writing. You spend two hours writing. You begin to realise it’s not working. For some reason you just can’t get your story to move towards your ending.

What are you going to do? You could bump up your word count: add a pile of extra words to get your protagonist to their destination. Or you could introduce a new character, one that explains all the story holes to your reader.

But that’s not what you’re about. You want to tell the story as clearly and as cleanly as possible.

Before you give up hope, here is something you could consider trying. I’m loath to suggest it - I know how much you liked your ending – but here goes.

Move your ending to the beginning.

Your ending is now the opening for your story. Your protagonist is not falling from grace: she has fallen: you just have to describe how she fell. Your protagonist is not going on a journey: he has arrived at the final destination and is reliving the highlights.

But you know this: of course you do.

You are ready to write.

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