Friday, May 18, 2012

Do You Write With The End In Mind?

Writers are not a homogenous group but certainly many share a degree of similar traits.  I wonder aloud if most writers are driven to write something based on knowing how the story will end.  Do most novelists have a story mapped out in their heads before they begin writing?  Do they have the ending in mind first and then try to construct a plausible scenario to lead up to this grand end?  For non-fiction writers, do they  start an essay or a book with a concluding point in mind, or are they just eager to write on a specific topic, not sure how they will finish it? 

My seven-year-old son tried to make his own comic book the other day.  What I found interesting about this was his thought process.  He came up first with a title, and then processed to the last page to draw the final cell first.  He knew how it would end and then worked backwards to fill in the details that would lead up to the ending.  For him, clearly, the funny ending was more important than how he’d tell the story.  He was driven by a punch line.

Perhaps many writers are like this.  They start out with an idea, quickly make a final conclusion, and then labor over the vast middle of the book so that all the pieces connect a strong beginning and a great ending. 

I guess no matter how you end or start a book it has to provide a complete package that readers can buy into and enjoy.  And if you do a good job you’ll leave enough of an appetite for a sequel.    

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer.  You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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