|swordfight scene from The Count of Monte Cristo|
I have heard before that, when writing a novel, the first step is to write the finish. Now that seems a little counter-intuitive. Haven't we all learned from The Sound of Music that we should:
So why would we write the ending first?Start at the very beginning...a very good place to start...
I still have not managed to write my ending first, and I honestly don't think it will be required. But I have started plotting out my ending before I even get halfway into the book. I did that with BB earlier this week. The process goes something like this:
1. I have a story idea and decide to write
--- I will have a vague idea of plot, finale, characters, etc with my idea but nothing is pinned down and won't be until I start writing.
2. I start writing and start exploring my characters
3. Once I have got my story underway and my characters in hand, I plan my ending.
--- This helps me to know where I am headed.
--- This helps me to understand my characters more deeply. What will be fitting rewards and punishments for them?
--- This lets me know what little hints I need to be dropping throughout the story to prepare my readers for the finale.
When I plot out my ending, I don't actually write the story of it until I get there. Instead, I write bullet points of what happens. It looks something like this:
Papa goes to town and rants
Stranger gets Papa to take him to xxx
Stranger approaches Curt
and so on and so forth...
When I get to the ending (as I write my story from beginning to finish), then I will turn this dull list into actual reading material.
How do you approach your stories? Do you write the ending before you get there? Do you always follow a chronological progression from cover to cover? What works best for you?