Write the End of the Story First
I approach writing the same way I approach planning a vacation. When planning a vacation, first I need to know the destination. Knowing the destination allows me to book the flight that will take me where I want to go. Knowing the destination allows me to pack the appropriate attire for the location and plan events based on the destination. When I know where I’m going, I know what to do to get there.
So, when I write the end first, the rest of the story falls into place. I start by writing the final sentence. Then, I write the final paragraph. When I know how I want the story to end, the rest of the story falls naturally into place. The characters and events move the story toward the end target.
For example, if I want to write a story that ends with a man eating ice cream at an ice cream parlor, my final sentence might be something like:
There he was, sitting at the little table in the little booth at the back of Uncle Ned’s Ice Cream Parlor.
Now, it becomes easy for me to write the rest of the story because the end of the story commands certain activities to take place in order to make the end come true.
Then Write the Beginning of the Story
After writing the end of the story, I write the beginning sentence and then the beginning paragraph. This sets the starting point. Just like planning a trip, I start from a particular location. Knowing the starting point will help determine how much time it will take to get to the final destination and what I need to do to get there.
In my ice cream parlor story, I might start the beginning paragraph something like:
It is 3:00 on a Saturday afternoon. Today, Tom’s weekend chore is in the back yard garden. Kneeling over the strawberry bed, Tom pulls up the weeds that invade the patch which runs along the entire length of the back yard fence. Gardening is hard work, but it has to be done. As the sun beams down on the back of Tom’s shoulders, Tom develops a hankering for something sweet, creamy, and cold. Ice cream! Tom knows just where to go to get the best ice cream on the planet.
Then Write the Rest of the Story
Now that I know how the story begins and ends, I can easily write the rest of the story. From the beginning, everything that happens in the story must take the reader to the end of the story exactly as written. For example, in the ice cream parlor story, it is logical to assume Tom would shower and change clothes before heading out to the ice cream parlor. I can decide whether he is married or calls a friend to join him. I can decide whether Tom has to get in his car and drive to the ice cream parlor or whether he takes a lovely stroll to the parlor. There is so much that can happen and I get to decide.
Get Great Results When You Begin With the End
Start with the end of the story to give you some direction. Then write the beginning of the story to give you a starting point. Then, whatever happens in the middle of the story is up to you. As long as the end result is what you have already determined, the rest of the story can be developed to your heart’s desire.
Next Tip: How to Outline a Short Story
The next tip I wish to share in this blog is how to outline a short story. You may follow this blog by subscribing to the RSS Feed.
Please feel free to leave a comment in the comment box. Until next time, happy writing!