Archive Post – Writing Yourself into a Corner

Are you one of those people who reads the last page of a book before you start?

I could never understand those folk.  What would be the point of knowing the ending before you begin?  It would be like showing up 30 min. early and sneaking into the cinema to see the end of the flic before the beginning.  But there are those crazy wacky people who read that way.  To each his own.

But when it comes to writing, you may just be doing exactly that.  All of the plot, subtext, narrative, character development, description, dialogue etc. is leading up to a crucial moment – the climax of the story.  After that it is a short step downhill to the end – (except for endings like the Return to the Shire part of Lord of the Rings “Return of the King” which could easily have made a fourth movie)

I had the ending decided to the book I am working on “Lobo” a novel about dogs lost in Monterrey, Mexico after the Hurricane that hit us here in 2010.  I won’t go into details about the ending because frankly, I haven’t written it yet and my big mistake was to plan the book and not plan the ending very well.  So, aside from broad strokes of my imagination, I have been killing myself to figure out how I am going to get the last pages to make sense, to bring together all the details and make them POP in a satisfying manner.

I had two issues to deal with.

1.  I needed to make a principal character do something NASTY.  To make a sacrifice that wouldn’t make him very sympathetic.  I worked out the details on that one and it came off well.

2.  A technical point.  How was I going to make sure that the Main character came out on top in a convincing manner.  He / she / it isn’t a super-hero characters so how to pull that one off.

This has caused me a bit of a block but the details are coming together and I look forward to finding out how it ends.

My next projects are going to be planned with more attention to detail.  And I am going to read the end of the books before I start.

David Gordon Burke
Find my books here.  


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