Posted in Resources, Writing

Endings – the First Draft

Writing the ending of a story can be tough. Knowing how the story is going to end is just as tough. There is no clear-cut way to figure how your story is going to end. Maybe you have it all planned out from the start. Maybe you didn’t figure out the ending until halfway through the story. Or maybe, you don’t have any idea how it’s going to end. Sure, there might be ideas floating around in your head but nothing is concrete and that’s okay.

Personally, I don’t usually figure out the ending until I get to the point where I can’t write anymore. Granted, this doesn’t happen to me often. Most often than not, I have some idea of how the novel is going to end.

Now, the good thing about writing the first draft is that nothing has to be perfect. The most important part is that it’s the first draft. This means that there’s going to be many more drafts of the same story. While the concept will stay the same and in some cases it won’t, everything else will change.

For the purpose of this post, I’ll stick with figuring out the ending for the first draft of the story. It’s not a novel just yet because the purpose of the first draft is to simply put the idea down on paper. That way, the idea has finally gotten out of your system and you can focus on writing the actual novel. I would also like to add that this isn’t about writing a satisfied ending.

When writing the ending of the story, what I do is make a list of all the potential ways to resolve the issue/problem/goal that has been the main focus of the story. Making a flow chart of the events leading up to the turning point/climax can be very helpful.

While you might not ever use one or any of those resolutions to the conflict, at least you started thinking about it. The process is to help your brain to think productively and creatively.

Once that list has been formed, try to figure out how to get from point A to point B. What would need to happen for that outcome to occur? It’s good to keep in mind that nothing is concrete. As much as you want the story/ending to be perfect, it won’t be. It’s not meant to be. At least not yet. Start with small steps and then take the bigger steps. Write those multiple endings/solutions and pick one that works . . . for the moment. There’s nothing stopping you from changing it after the first draft.

Even as a last resort, skipping the end is an option too. There is only one story that I skipped the ending. I didn’t necessarily write it out. However, I knew how I wanted the story to end. While this is nitpicking, at least, for me, I knew how it was going to end. It’s what worked for me.

At the end of the day, find what works for you. Every writer is different.

 

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Posted in Methods, Writing

Knowing When to Quit

When writing, I don’t normally think of the ending. As a matter of fact, I don’t always know the ending. The end doesn’t pop into my head until I’m in the middle of my story. Until then, writing becomes more about discovering what the story is about. For some, that might not be the case. You might already know the ending from the beginning but most often than not, the ending doesn’t turn out the way we envisioned it and that’s okay. The story is always changing.

So, what if the ending doesn’t ever show up? The story grags on and on. The piece becomes longer and longer. A longer piece isn’t so scary but it gets to the point where the drive and motivation to continue evaporates. A few tips I learned along the way are as follow:
1. Plan
You don’t have to have an outline per say but it’s a good idea to know what your character(s) want. Will they achieve this goal at the end? Will they fail? Or maybe they realize that goal isn’t what they wanted. Know your character and the story can write itself and the ending won’t be too far away.
2. Write the ending first.
You might have an idea for a story but you’re having trouble starting. A little exercise I learned is to write the ending. Picture how you want the story to end. That way, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and you won’t be bogged down with the details of a started story.
3. Just stop writing.
While this is probably the most obvious, it also doesn’t make sense completely. Sometimes you just have to put down your pen or stop typing and sit back. Take a break. More often than not, you’re just word vomiting. The content might not be related or necessary to the story. Read over what you wrote and figure out where the story stops making sense.
4. Quit.
This is probably the last thing you want to hear. Writing is as important as breathing and eating. It’s a part of who we are. However, saying that, it’s important to know that sometimes a story won’t work out. It doesn’t mean you can’t come back to it but it does mean that you need to close that document or put it in a drawer and forget about it for a few months or years. A story is not always ready to be written and that’s okay.

Do you ever have trouble knowing where your story is going to end? How do you plan the ending? Do you know it first? Don’t forget to share your thoughts and opinions
Until next time, Kassandra.