9 Reasons why it’s a good idea to write the ending first!

Writing the ending of a story first, is not an uncommon habit.  In fact, for many years, I thought I was the only writer doing it.  It wasn’t until I started being asked by writers and non-writers why I begin at the end, did I discover that a lot of other, very successful writers, choose this technique also!  Feeling like I was in good company, I thought I’d dig deeper as to why we do this, and why it is a very good idea.

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1. The end is the beginning. You’d like to write a book. You got here after years of contemplation. Your story idea has been sitting inside you, building up to this. It is worthy of being written and needs to get from your mind to the paper.  Start by getting that idea down on paper so that all of the emotion you carry that supports your desire to write; that emotion that brought you here in the first place, is not lost.  Be detailed, find your resolve, inject emotional climax, and keep writing and editing, until you feel like you’re excited and bursting at the seems to show it to the world.  Right there! - at THAT point, you have an excellent base to a fantastic story.  It may be the end, but it is really the start of your incredible literary journey. 

    2. Build to an intriguing climax. A great ending is all in the build-up. Climax is equally important for every genre. A novel that relies on twists, turns and tension (a murder mystery or thriller, for example) will require a stronger build-up. Books that aren’t as reliant on suspense, such as romance novels, also benefit from a satisfying build-up.  So how do you build to a climactic ending?

    - Make it harder for characters to reach their objectives – what stands in their way?
    - If applicable to your story, increase characters’ peril.
    - Vary pace – write shorter scenes and chapters to increase momentum.
    - Keep the largest confrontations between characters for your final chapters.

    3. Why waste it? Now that you’ve written a dramatic, exciting, ending to use as your base, try not to lose sight of your grand idea. You have to be realistic; writing is time consuming, tiring, and emotionally and physically, challenging, but if you’ve already begun to create and form your ending, why waste it?  As hard as it is at times, keep that desire alive by working towards the ending in each chapter. 

      4. Know where you are. Writing the ending first means that you always have a lifeline and, when you get lost, it will be easier for you to find your way back again. Remember that readers like destinations. They love beginnings, middles, and It can act like a checklist of the details in the ending you eventually want to reveal.  
        5. Make sure your ending is earned, not improbable. A story with an improbable ending is frustrating because it rings untrue. Usually the ending that makes sense follows the simple logic of cause and effect. This doesn’t mean that you cannot have an outlandish, imaginative or unexpected ending. There are very few absolute rules when it comes to writing fiction. Yet laying groundwork for your ending and building the anticipation of a specific outcome creates a sense of direction and objective. An irritatingly unlikely ending may result, if you get yourself into a tricky tangle in your plot. Many fictional characters are a little too lucky and are saved by the bell. Be careful of letting a strong sense of cause and effect slip away in your closing chapters for the sake of convenient resolution.  
          6. Refine, refine, refine. One of the main reasons why writing the ending first is such a great idea, is because once you’ve written it, you then have the entire lifetime of the books creation to work on it and tweak it. This means that your ending is being refined and perfected for the longest period of time than any other part of the book.  You have time to add details, delete unnecessary words, and ensure the ending is exactly how you envision.  
            7. Self-motivation. When your ending is written down, it encourages you to keep going with the rest of the book. Self-motivation is very important when writing.  Knowing you have a strong ending, helps to maintain the writing habit.  Your ending might change, your whole story might even change, but try not to let this discourage you from quitting.  Try and work through these periods of time by tweaking your ending, rather than abandoning it because if you abandon your ending, chances are, you may end up abandoning your entire book.  
              8. Cover and blurb. With a clear ending already written, and chapters on the way, you can begin to think about what is most important to show your intended target audience. The final chapter often stays in the mind of the reader, so if there is something you can use, to enhance visually, it will only strengthen the memory of the reader. And through that memory, they may be prompted to then refer the book to others.  

                9. Word count. Yes, word count matters. While there is nothing wrong with slim novels, buyers expect more for their money these days. A typical publisher will expect a word count that is anywhere between 20,000 – 100,000 words. If you have around 40,000 words then you’re in good company.  Writing the ending of your book sets the precedence for how long you write your chapters.  Readability is a factor in novels; having your audience feel comfortable with length and read time.  Try to, at least, write as much as you did in the previous chapter, or thereabouts.  If you use this as a general rule, starting with the fantastic ending you have written, then you’ll easily reach your desired word count by completion. For example; if you’re writing seven A4 pages in word with Times New Roman 11 or 12, for twenty chapters, then by the end of your story, once you’ve converted it in to your desired book layout, you will have a nice sized novel that will feel worthy of sale. 

                In the end, none of the above matters when you have a deep desire to write a novel and cross that item off your bucket list.  However, sometimes, utilizing tips and tricks by other artists can help to strengthen the already, amazing talent, you have.  In the end, no matter how you write, when you write, or how much you write, your story is golden.  Your words are what define you and your story is worth sharing with the world. So, go out there and make the world a better place by completing your novel and giving the gift of your writing for others to enjoy!



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