Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tip O'Day for Writers #115

Guest blogger Walter Jon Williams says know where you’re going.

Try to know the end before you start. It saves a lot of time and anxiety and wandering down dark corridors in search of the plot. You can aim each scene at the ending, and that means that every scene will contribute its own energy to the resolution, and the resolution will thus have more impact.

Dixon says: Good advice. I subscribe to the “writing in the headlights” school of fiction, midway between Planners and Pantsers (as in ‘flying by the seat of your pants’). When I start a novel, I know generally how it will end, and I have a pretty clear vision of what will transpire in the first 3-4 chapters. As I progress, the headlights expose more and more of the plot details along the roadway and my understanding of the climax grows progressively clearer.

For me, discovering exactly how everything will work out in the end is one of the most exciting parts of writing. Besides, my characters keep doing unexpected things, the rascals, and the plot I envision when I start is never exactly what transpires.

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