I Know How My Novel Will End

Believe it or not, I didn’t before today. I was kind of wanting to slack off a bit on my drafting, and I realized that, hey, I don’t know exactly how my story is going to end. I knew that it was going to involve some Solar-System-shattering political changes, but I didn’t know any specifics. Now, I know that it will involve a few more specific things:

  • Characters on five different planets racing against the same clock.
  • Former enemies making up, then becoming enemies again.
  • Orbital strikes.

I guess technically there’s only one orbital strike. But how many more do you need, really?

This is kind of an evolution of my normal discovery writing strategy. Normally I’d just write to the end one scene at a time. Sure, that doesn’t result in the strongest endings (not that I really suspect that my ending is going to be that magnificent before editing) but it’s the most fun, right? Eh.

My change in writings plans came about as I happened to listen to the Writing Excuses podcast on discovery writing again. One of the guys – I don’t remember who – suggested that a compromise for discovery writers struggling with their endings was to write essentially until they felt like they no longer could, and then start with the outlining. And I started with it in a huge way.

I decided that each part of my book is going to be about seven chapters of three or four scenes each. So I numbered each chapter from the point I am in the draft forward until what I calculated to be the end, dropped a sub-heading for each scene, and decided about what was going to happen. And it worked out pretty well – 1,000 words later I have an excellent idea of where my story is going, which aside from giving me the confidence to keep writing also allows me to plan my daily writing based on scenes and not word count. That’s a new thing for me, so I’m not sure how it’s going to work out.

Anyway, that’s my quick writing update as I pile toward the end of my first draft. December has been pretty busy, so I’m not sure if I’ll be successful at finishing by that point, but if anything will get me to that point, it’s the outline. And then, it’ll be time for a new scene list as I gut this one in the rewrite.

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5 responses to “I Know How My Novel Will End

  1. Hey Brad,
    Met you at Wordstock this year. Just wanted to stop by and wish you the best on your project. It’s a great idea to stick to a schedule and blog about your progress. Gave me some great ideas when I go to write my next piece of work. Good luck!

  2. It makes me so happy to see you persevere in your writing despite its difficulties!

  3. Orbital strikes?! Sign me up!

    Are you actually going to have your book divided into chapters, or is that just an organizational framework for outlining?

    • I have chapters, but they’re placed pretty arbitrarily. My organization into “parts” is much more deliberate. I’m not even 100% sure if I’m going to have chapters in the final version, or whether each scene will be a chapter, or what.

  4. Pingback: Knowing is Half the Battle « The Tenth Word

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