Plotting the story

In writing a novel, some give the advice that you must know the ending of the story before you plot the beginning and the middle. That’s where I’m now mired in this process of writing a best-selling novel. 

I know the characters, almost as well as I know my best friend, so there is only a little work left to do on them. I know the initial setting, and the setting of the next few chapters, so I have a jump on that. However, based on my first ideas for this story, every ending I imagine sounds like every other work of fiction drama that I’ve read…someone dies, everyone lives happily ever after, she learned something life-changing, the bad guy gets his due, etc, etc, etc.

I wonder if more exercise, some new vitamin supplement or maybe even more sex would give me the seemingly required oxygenated, magically turbo-charged boost to my right brain? (My husband would promote the idea of more sex leads to a more prolific imagination!) I wonder..have I lived such a banal existence that I have no imagination to draw from? Have I been moving through life with my eyes closed, never seeing all the fascinating minutia in front of me? I used to break into a sweat at the dreaded request from my children, “Mommy, please tell me a story.” Me…create a fantastical tale  that will hold my daughter’s attention for ten minutes? One that would make me seem to be the best mommy ever? My mind was as barren of ideas as the desert was of water!

I always envied those folks who could create a humorous rhyme or joke with little thought, or embellish an account of an ordinary day and it would be spot-on hilarious!  Oh, what I would give for a more creative mind!

But as I have found so far on this journey into novel writing, every time I feel overwhelmed by one aspect or another of the process of creating a readable story, if I continue to work through it,  the fog eventually clears and the answers are brought into the light. Aha! I reread my instructional books, reread last chapters of other great books and talk my way through my ideas aloud, even though anyone listening would think I may have had a psychotic break with reality. Reaching that Aha! moment is worth all the frustration, hard work and perplexing looks from those within earshot that an aspiring writer faces day after day.

Back to work now…searching for the ending to my story that will dazzle all my future readers!


5 thoughts on “Plotting the story

  1. I usually start with an ending in mind (by no means do you have to) and then throughout writing my story the ending changes. Writing a novel is a journey. There aren’t really directions. Just follow your muse. Writing from the heart with strong characters doing the talking is the best!

  2. Some one once told me that characters if allowed will write their own plots, adventures and endings if we just let them. I am finding that very true, every plan I have had, no matter how great I thought, my characters always tweak it. I sometimes think that I am the third wheel

  3. Thanks, Jason. yeah, it’s been driving me just a little crazy. Okay, I’ll let my characters do what they will and see where we end up. Thanks, buddy…I can relax now 🙂

  4. If I may, I offer up two bits of advice on endings. The first is simple; don’t worry about having an ending right away. There is a good chance that you know this, but there is a good chance that by not having an ending already in mind you will give your characters more freedom to explore. It could actually lead to more creativity, as you will not have to get to a prescribed ending. A plot is a journey, and not all journeys have a defined ending at the outset.

    My second bit of advice is to not worry too much about coming up with an original ending. With as long as human history is you will have a very hard time of this. Instead, focus on how you can add your own special touch to that ending. What change or twist do you bring to the party. Some people may hate me for this, but all George Lucas did was rework the story of Jesus. Obviously it has Lucas’ fingerprints all over it.

    Above all, don’t stop. Well, gotta go write.

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