I’ve been talking about a few methods of how to develope an idea for Camp NaNoWriMo in April. We only have a week left before it truly starts. So, like promised, today I’ll touch upon working backwards to a goal. This specifically is having an ending to a story and working backwards to figure out how you, the writer, is going to get there.
I’ll be the first to say that starting with the end is tricky because more often than not, you don’t have the ending planned from the beginning. Should you not try this method? It depends. Personally, there are times when the ending suddenly comes to me right as I start writing act two. Then, it’s a simple matter of figuring out what scenes are going to lead up to the end.
All of this works specifically if you have the end in mind so this post will address that situation. Act three is important. This is where the characters may or may not have closure, might be a cliff hanger, or neatly wraps up a series. Knowing how it all ends helps the writer focus on the writing and can keep the story concise.
So, the question remains, how do we work backwards for a goal?
A good question to ask is how did the character get there? What did they have to do to be in that moment in time? This queation is meant to get thise gears turning. It works like retracing your steps only it’s not for you. I tend to write the steps in bullet points so its easier to visualize.
Once those bullet point come in mind then it gets simpler. What came before that scene? What about the one before that? And the before that? You see where I’m going with this?
This method can also work even if you didn’t have the ending in mind at the beginning. Maybe you started at the beginning and, as you wrote, the ending solidified. Now, all that is left is to figure out those steps in between. The writing becomes focused with purpose.
Lastly, it’s important to keep in mind that scenes and endings don’t always appear so suddenly. A lot of it comes from the writer writing and thinking what’s going to happen next. Keeping thinking, keep imagining what will happen next. Let the gears turn. And as always, have fun and take breaks to prevent from becoming frustrated with the lack of progress or if the execution isn’t as you intended. Take a deep breath and plan on.