Begin with the End

In LOM, I knew exactly how the story started. The three women, the "kidnapping talent" conversation, the scene at the office. What I didn't know, for my first time writing a book, was how and where it ended.

With my time travel novels, I always knew Chloe had a YEAR, exactly and what needed to be accomplished in that time. In my Dallas O'Connor mysteries, I knew the killer would be caught and Dallas would live, though it would be close. Those genres gave me the constructs on which to hang the storyline and a goal post to aim for.

Not so with Elize. I spend seven years searching for her fitting "ending." (Don't worry, what's published is absolutely perfect, IMHO!) This searching was due to a combination of too much focus and wrong timing. Too much focus meaning I had what I wanted to happen. I didn't ask the story how it ended. (At some point, if you're going the wrong way, your brain will just STOP you.) It was wrong timing, because I needed to learn a lot more, experience, listen, loosen up and trust the story was there. I'm a slow learner.

Seven years, especially those seven years and all the projects I worked on in that time, is a very long time. Every single one of those interim projects started with: How does it end? So where does it begin? Every single one finished, because by starting with the end, I'd already accomplished the hardest part of writing a book: FINISHING.

When I finally sat down with the next-to-the-last-draft of LOM and simply asked the story: Where is the end? When is the arc achieved, the questions answered, the elixir shared? 

= The End

And that draft became the last, final, draft. Complete, whole, (and I hope) satisfying.

Will writing the end first save you seven years? Do you have the time to NOT try it?

© J Suzanne Frank 2013