Monday, September 28, 2009

The End

I saw the very end of a movie the other day, and the ending made me want to see the whole movie so I could understand the glances between characters, the smiles, the tears, and the simple gesture of an outstretched hand.

More than seeing the beginning of the movie, I wanted to write my own beginning that would lead up to this stunning end.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever wanted to start at The End and work backwards to the beginning? I mean, wouldn't this be a clever way to write a novel? You know how the story ends, so . . . step by step, word by word, paragraph by paragraph, chapter by chapter you write the novel backwards. Hmmmm . . .

Would it be easier knowing The End before you begin writing? Do you always know The End when you first sit down and begin to write? Does The End change along the way? Do your characters suddenly grab the writing reins and send themselves scurrying off in directions you never imagined, screaming No more outlines, no more outlines as they hurry and scurry here, there, and everywhere across the written words of your brilliance?

Whew! Try saying that sentence without taking a breath. I dare you. I double-dog dare you!! What is a double-dog dare, by the way? Inquiring minds want to know . . .

I always have an idea of The End when I begin writing, but it is never set in stone, and it often changes as I write. Yeah, it might be a bit easier saying that the buxom heroine ends up with the handsome hero and they live happily ever after, well, after a few kidnappings, misunderstandins, heroine crying herself to sleep at night and swearing she'll never speak to him again, and then rushing into his arms once all is said and done!

To me, that seems kind of boring. I like the surprise of the buxom heroine falling in love with the snarky margarita drinking gladiator Tyrone, having no clue he is really after her fortune . . . oh, and the handsome hero . . . and then realizing she's just fine on her own and doesn't need a man to make her happy. She has wealth, after all, and can buy as many men as she wants!!

So, my questions, as always, fall back on my followers: Do you know The End when you begin?



Angie Ledbetter said...

I know the end, but maybe not the exact steps that bring ya to that point. I like having an outline for structure and to make sure everything makes sense, but still leaving room for organic writing too.

Thanks for entering your book title! Your contestant #1. :)

WV = randomb

Tess said...

Never, but I really wish I did. Sometimes I will have a cloudy, vague idea, but often not more than that.

I honestly envy those who can see plot lines so clearly. It is a gift -- appreciate it :)

Michelle said...

I pretty much know the end, but I don't know how the characters are going to get there.

There's so much advice out there about beginnings, and very little about endings. I found that the hardest part to write in my manuscript.

WindyA said...

I've never written like this before, but my current wip came to me with the end intact, but not much else. So now I'm trying to figure out everything that came before!

Davin Malasarn said...

Scott, I do this weird thing. I try to think of what will happen at 80% of the way into my novel. So, not the end, but NEAR the end. I tend to write, aiming for that spot, and then, I figure the rest of the book will come from what I have written before. Ha! I thought about posting that once and figured everyone would just think I was an alien.

ElanaJ said...

I think we almost always know the end. We may not know the details, the setting, or exactly what happens, but we know the end. For example, I don't outline. Ever. I just sit down to write. So I started a book that I knew would be a paranormal mystery with a death. Well, then of course the book is going to end with finding out who the murderer is. How exactly that happens, I don't know. I never do. I just write and let the train take me where it may.

So yeah, I think we do know the end almost all the time. We just don't know the specifics.

Scott said...

Angie - #1?? Of course. ; ) My WV on one blog was - quitter! No kidding. Talk about a bad omen. : ) I don't do the Lady Glamis style outline, but I have a format that works for me.

Tess - I'm kind of with you. I normally have a general idea of how I want the book to end, but it often changes as I write.

Michelle - I think endings are sometimes the hardest part of writing, and nobody really has the best advice to offer on that subject, so there's a void in our writing lesson plans! I was so unsure of how I wanted one manuscript to end that I wrote three different endings. I'm still not sure which one I'm going to pick.

WindyA - I truly think knowing the exact end you want and working backwards is a good way to write.

Davin - Ah, the truth is revealed. You're an alien. : ) I'll have to try the 80% thing one of these days. Perhaps that's where I am when I pretty much know how the story is going to end, but it changes along the way. Hmmmm . . .

Elana - I think you and I write in pretty much the same way, though I'm trying to apply some of the advice out there on the blogsphere to write in a somewhat more organized fashion. Yeah, like that's ever going to happen . . . completely. I think you're right that we know the 'end' just not all the details of the 'end'.