Monday, June 28, 2010

Knowing How it Ends

~By C.K. Bryant

A few days ago I started a new book. Crazy, I know. I have two books finished (both in the same series), the first of which is being queried to agents, and I have two other books that are about 1/2 way finished. What the heck was I thinking?

It's been a long while since I started a new book and I found myself excited and scared all at once. I opened a blank page on my computer and typed about four pages, feeling pretty good about what I'd written. I LOVE the voice of my new character, a sixteen year old girl who loves to laugh. But as I got to the bottom of page four, I stopped. I couldn't go any further because I realized I didn't know how the story ended.

Yep, that's right. I can't write a book without knowing how it ends. I just can't do it. I've heard so many of my writing friends talk about how they just start writing and let the story guide them, having no idea what comes next. I've also heard others who do a complete outline and have all the details hammered out before they even begin to write the actual novel. It's hard to believe that there are so many different ways of doing it--almost as many ways as there are writers.

So, first of all . . . I'm curious how you write. Do you just go headstrong from the get go, or are you meticulous about an outline and the details?

Second, I'd like to share the video and power point presentation given by Dan Wells at LTUE. It's the closest I've come to finding someone teach the way I write. I love the presentation, so if you can find the time, please check it out. Click HERE to go to the website.


  1. The only book I've actually finished that I've started I didn't have any outline, I only had an idea of the main characters voice and I let that carry my through to the end. Other stories that I've loosely outlined I can't finish. I have no motivation, I already know how it ends so it is no longer interesting to me. So I guess I have to write blindly and let the story take me where it will.

  2. Hi Christine! I'm sorry to hear that the writers block ambushed you. :(

    With the inkling of an inspiration, I jump head-first into my story--exploring the unknown. It unravels its wings for me as I go along.

    There are times when I have a very primitive outline--a beginning, middle and end--and I can still go with the flow, not knowing what will befall in the 'inbetweens', but it always, always pans out for me!

    One thing I do, for total inspiration, is that I make sure that I have my scriptures read. I pray for guidance to be able to 'jump into the characters' heads' so that I can 'feel what they are feeling, see and taste, too'. There are those few moments where the block hits me and that's when I fast, ask for a Priesthood blessing. I even go as far as go to the Temple and meditate.

    Good luck with the story, Christine. Remember you can always depend on me to help bat ideas around!

    Luv ya!


  3. Christine, I've only been 'novel' writing for a year and a half, but I like using an outline. Not a rigid one, but I like having a loose plot -like a sketch. Then if when I am filling in details on that sketch, if I need to change something I do. I'm glad you started the beginning of your book - it's really good to get the ideas down before the excitement over it fades.

  4. I usually just know a main conflict, character and maybe a few events. Other than that I just go until I have to whole thing hammered out in my head. Then I write an VERY loose outline that I can stray from easily.

  5. I LOVE that Dan Wells presentation.

    I'm with you. I have to know the ending. I can get partly into the story without it, but not too far.

  6. Honestly, I've written the endings or climax before ANYTHING else, this includes both finished and unfinished projects. The thought of starting at the beginning of the story and working my way to the end is crazy. Let me add here that it does make editing time lines somewhat of a nightmare but it's how I like to work.

  7. I really should stick to my outline, but it seems like I stray off topic until I'm writing blind.especially now during NaNo. Is anyone else attempting the NaNo challenge?



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