The Writers Circle: Beginnings and Endings

One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

We all write differently in terms of planning and outlining or writing from the seat of our pants (or something in between).  Today we’re curious: Do you prefer to have a well-formed beginning in mind before you start writing and then you write or plan until the ending becomes clear?  Or do you find it preferable to know how the story will end and then plan out or write until you accomplish the desired ending?  Or do you have another preference in terms of how you get going on a new work?

Discuss this topic here in the comments or head on over to the forums to start or engage in a more thorough discussion.


4 thoughts on “The Writers Circle: Beginnings and Endings

  1. Nesbit is different to me. He’ll think of a line or verse he likes from a song or poem and create a story around that. However, I’ll always think of an ending to something and penultimate scene to a book or film that could lead to an ending. From there, I’ll think about what events could happen that lead up to that scene for a dramatic finish.

    But we are both the same in that when this idea is planted, we don’t plan, we just write, and see what happens. We let the characters take control of the narrative and see what comes naturally.

    These are not the common ways, I’m sure, but so far they work for us!

  2. I mull over a story idea for a long time before I begin to write, sometimes for years. When it begins to set in my brain, I open a new computer file and begin with what I call Background Notes, where I write between 40 to 70 single-spaced pages of essential details about characters, locales, and plot. Eventually the Notes become Story, and I’ll open a new file, transfer the beginning of the book, and continue to write. It’s an organic process. My one big change over the past 16 years is to store each new chapter in its own file and to keep an up to date Table of Contents with a chapter title and brief description of the main event. I don’t always use the chapter title in the actual book – it’s an organizational tool. The final chapter gets written shortly after the beginning of the actual story, and is minimally changed. I always know where I’m going.

  3. I have no real discipline with planning and I am all over the map on how I approach it. Most of my fiction starts with a set of characters and an ending then I work backwards towards the beginning. My poetry starts with either a feeling, a picture or a couple of lines. This is mostly “stream of consciousness” writing as I am building an emotion or feeling. My blog entries are generally written without a plan, unless I have something specific I’ve researched. In that case, I’ll do an outline.

    I generally don’t do long works (more than 5,000 words), but when I do I start with a rough outline, notes, a scene or two and build from there allowing myself to change the plan as the story evolves.

  4. When i write fiction, it usually begins with a character I have found fascinating, Usually my characters are based on real people, someone i have interacted with or observed. My stories do not know where they are headed when i start, and take on a life of their own as i write. I prefer writing short fiction, upto 1000-1500 words long. I lose patience beyond that and my line of thinking.

    Often my characters and their behaviour surprises me as much as it surprises my readers.

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