Here’s our first mini writing discussion… who’s excited?
So, today, I came across a pin on my pinterest dashboard that read (and I’m typing this word for word from the actual pin): ‘Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously, Endings are HARD, get yours working up front.’
And I just realized as I was typing that that the comma after hard sound either be a period or semi-colon. Also not sure why the ‘e’ in endings is capitalized, but whatever. (I’m pointing this out because I obsess over grammar… and because proper grammar increases credibility, which maybe this pin doesn’t really have…)
So, this got me thinking… yes, endings are really, really, really hard to figure out… but, do you really have to figure it out before you get too far into the story?
And this brings us to our discussion. First, let me give some of my own personal experience with… well, endings, and then let me give you some ideas to ponder on the subject.
So, I realized this quite a while ago, but I almost always know my ending before I even get to the end of the first chapter of whatever book I’m working on. Sometimes I know the ending before I even know the beginning. That’s just how I’ve written for a long time… I always write with an ending in mind; it helps keep me motivated to stick with it until that very end. And it’s not like I just always have an idea for some crazy, plot twist ending that I wanna write a story around, either. I don’t know why, but I just always write for my endings, no matter what it is.
However, recently, I finally finished my longest story yet (it’s called Cartoon; check out my works’ page if you wanna read it!), and… well, now, I have to start all over again with whatever my next story will be. I have, like, a billion ideas and four already started on paper (or, really, a word document)… but, here’s the catch. This time, I have absolutely no clue how any of them are gonna actually end.
So, I can definitely relate directly to this post today. That’s probably why I chose to talk about it, too. I know, I’m not really all that far into the stories I’ve recently started… but, like I said, I usually know how it’s gonna end by the time I’ve written out the first chapter, and, for every single one of these story starters, I’m at least past the first chapter. So, now, I’m kind of second guessing my… intuition, I guess you could say, because now I’m not so sure you really even have to know a story’s ending until… well, the ending.
Okay, think of it this way. Do you have to know your story before you write it down? In a general sense, yes, but do you have to know exactly everything that’s going to happen and exactly how everything is going to happen? God, I hope not, because that would take all the fun out of it. I’d also be doing it all wrong every time I sat down in front of my laptop.
So, if you don’t have to really know anything about your story other than the general premise of it when you start it up… then why do you need to know how it ends? Why not just come up with your general direction, think of a good opening scene, and then just go with the flow until your ending either comes to you or, well, you get to the end. I’m not actually one for planning much, especially when I write, so this is sounding like a decent route to me right now. Just, you know, flow with it.
Now, that’s just an idea, so don’t freak out if you’re thinking ‘oh, God, I could never do that!’ because you don’t have to do that. If you prefer to plan ahead and write down events and things then you can do that, too. If you can’t think of an ending right from the beginning, though… don’t worry about it! That doesn’t mean that your story is crappy or not worth pursuing if you can’t pin down the right ideas for it; it just means that you need more time to get things going before you plan an ending completely. And, if it takes you until after you write the middle to get it figured out… then so be it.
Yeah, it’s easier to write an ending once you’ve already planned it out for a while… but it’s not impossible if you haven’t. Actually, in some cases, I think it could even be easier if you don’t plan for your ending right away. If you plan it too far in advance, you could end up waiting forever to actually write it and get really mad if yourself if it doesn’t turn out as great as you had glorified it in your mind all that time. I say this because that almost happened to me once before… maybe twice, actually… but, moral of the story (get it?) there is just don’t get too hyped up about it too early.
Anyway, back to the pinterest pin… ‘Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously, Endings are HARD, get yours working up front.’
Yes, endings are very HARD to figure out… but they certainly do not have to be planned out from the very beginning. Or from the first chapter. Or from the middle, even. It’s a good idea… I guess… but it’s definitely not a rule. Seriously, don’t listen to people who think they know everything there is to know about writing if you (or I) can tell they don’t know everything there is to know about grammar; they go hand in hand. Do your own writing your own way. If you’re not ready to write or plan your ending just yet… then don’t!
It’s not the end of the world… just the end of your story’s.