Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I've Been Here Before...

Every writer has their particular trouble spots. Some writers revise the beginning.

I tend to keep my beginnings. My pattern is to get to the climax without much trouble. Then, I tend to stop for a while, gathering my wits (ha!) and figuring out the best way to end the story. I'll write an ending. Then, let it stew for awhile. Depending on my gut feeling about the story as a whole, I may revise the beginning part, may even send the story off to my beta reader.

Sometimes, the end part stays. But, more off than not, I trash the ending and write a whole new version, from climax (or shortly thereafter) to final line. It's not so bad in a short story. But scrapping the end of a novel is rough. That's, like, nearly 20k words!

I'm hoping, now that I've just strutted past the 50k mark in the current Bo Fexler novel, that I won't do what I usually do. But, chances are pretty good that I will still be me. And I will probably end up writing the ending of the current novel twice. It's a little discouraging at this point.

I've tried plotting out the end, then writing it. I've tried waiting a few days to let the idea gestate before putting it down. But time and time again, it doesn't matter. I have to write the ending twice. At least.

Do you have any such writing quirks?


Anonymous said...

Interesting. I've read advice somewhere that the best way to surprise your reader and write an ending that's both unexpected yet feels inevitable after the fact, is to brainstorm bunches of ways it could all go down, and not to pick your first idea. The theory is that your first would be the reader's automatic first, I guess.

In a sense that's what you're doing, except you're writing out the whole first idea, letting it stew, and then figuring out the perfect other way. I have a feeling I will be doing this too... This being my first WIP, time will tell :)

~ R

Travis Erwin said...

I'm pretty dent at endings, it's the middle that goes badly for me.

Barbara Martin said...

Though my stand alone novels have fairly good endings, I still need to leave a few red herrings that will carry on into the next story. I think of this as completing the major sub-plot to a satisfactory conclusion while leaving the major plot still open for further adventures.

My endings are vague and not specifically decided upon until the majority of the manuscript has been completed. This is because I change them, not unlike you Clair. They have to feel just right so the reader is satisfied.