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Do You Know The End Of Your Story Before You Begin?





Do You Know The End Of Your Story Before You Begin?


On today’s insights to writing a story, I asked the Twitter community whether or not they like to know, or just happen to know, the end of their story before they even begin writing it.


The answers ranged and varied, which is exactly what I was hoping for. So let’s unpack it.


Starting at one end, some writers say the ending is the only scene and event they know when first even thinking about the idea. This makes it easier for them to foreshadow and climb to that point, filling in acts one and two, avoiding a soggy middle, because they know the trials and obstacles must be vast to reach this circulated ending. They want the pieces to be able to land just right, and in doing so, they need to know that ending.


Others are in the middle perspective. As in they like to know the direction and route of the ending, but are not in complete need of that specific ending scene right off the bat. They can get stuck in the middle if they don’t have an idea.


This goes for those who require to know the ending, or just naturally do. Getting stuck in the slosh of a middle is a regular conflict writers and authors face. You are not alone. There are many ways around it whether you are a plotter or not, but in the case of this post, knowing the ending before beginning the draft seems to help writers avoid the mud.


Another contrast of this is that some writers always know the beginning and the end, but the middle is a surprise. The fun and games, high stakes, lowest point, all come as a surprise. But since the two ends of the timeline are certain, the middle works a mind of its own. During edits as well, some authors find themselves leaving the end completely alone and messing around with the beginning based on how the middle turns out.


In all of these answers, it seems that the ending is a writer or author close to heart. A prized possession. The ending can come in many forms, whether it closes the conflict well-rounded, leaves a cliffhanger, ends brutally, or has an open end for reader interpretation. Whatever way this may be, the ending takes a lot of puzzle work based on how the story goes, where the writer wants to further take the story in a series, or how the reader identifies with it.


And then there are writers who like the surprise. They write and write and shock themselves as the fingers hit the keys. They are alongside the reader, experiencing the ending for the first time as it happens. As it reads on the page. This is an astounding route for endings as well. All are valid, complete, and complex in their own way.


If you even write a story far enough to get to the ending, props to you. Writing is a craft. It is complex, hard, tasking, and exhausting at times. But it can also be very fulfilling, refreshing, and rejuvenating to see that ending close a story you worked so hard on. No matter the way you take it, all ways of writing are unique and stay true to you as an artist.


I hope you found this post interesting, message me with your thoughts and experiences too!


See you soon,

Olivia





Do You Know The End Of Your Story Before You Begin?

  • Yes, always!

  • Sometimes.

  • Nope, never!


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William Eckel
William Eckel
09 de fev. de 2023

Hey, Livi. I write the ending first. As you mentioned it is easier to get where you are going if you know the destination. Having said that, just because I wrote the ending first does not mean that it is carved in granite. When you write there is always the potential for everyone and everything to change. :)

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