I know, I know, you got so excited when you saw this. “Whoa, she finished her novel in a month? Awesome!”
Well, not really…but I did finish the end of Battle Song. (Which was only about 5,000 words long…so not that awesome.)
Anyway, a few weeks ago, I was browsing on Pinterest and I saw a writing tip that said to start writing at the end, so that you know where you’re going with the story. Since I’m not an outliner, this sounded like a great idea to try. Normally, I never have endings planed out.
So I took some time to prepare (though, not too much, since I already had a basis of the world from last November, when I originally started Battle Song). I figured out a few main scenes I wanted to happen at the end, and then I decided to write it.
But every single scene didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.
Some might call it a waste of time because I’ll probably only use two or three paragraphs plus some phrases of that ending, but I thought it was rewarding, and here’s why.
Because the ending turned out so much what I didn’t want, I figured out what I did want.
I took a few notes while I was writing, and here’s a few of them to show you what I mean:
When this is rewritten I need to do better at the dagger her sisters giving her being more tempting or something…this is a bit not intense enough, as if everything is already decided. There’s not enough realization.
Ugh, there’s so much explaining in the scene. I want Amrya to figure almost all of it out, if possible, and have <spoiler> be the cinching moment when it all comes together. So I’ll need more stuff throughout the book.
(And a good one.)
Ooh okay so she has this ancestry line… <spoiler spoiler> So as she’s learning more about them, she’s thinking about her ancestors, realizes that…interesting, hehe. Yay!
It was a great learning experience for me. These last few scenes were supposed to be pivotal, intense scenes, and they just really weren’t. Writing them told me that I needed to bring more elements of the ending throughout the entire book, so that there would be traces and hints to what would happen from the very beginning.
Basically I need to foreshadow.
Additionally, writing the ending first helped me figure out what I really wanted with this story. What I wanted the reader to feel, to come away with. I’m still figuring it out, but I have a much better idea.
In the first version I started (that is, Battle Song 1.0, (this is 2.0)), Amrya trades her beauty rather than her voice. I realized that, as I was writing 1.0, I didn’t want that. It didn’t affect her enough.
As I tried to figure out the exact aspects of her deal with the sea witch, I was having a lot of trouble, but I came up with a few ideas. Writing the ending scene, when it came up again, helped me figure it out.
Even though I’m still not sure about it. But it’s better.
And religion! In the original story by Hans Christian Andersen, part of the reason the little mermaid wants to become a human and marry the prince is so that she can have an immortal soul. (The mermaids don’t have souls–they drift into seafoam at death–but marriage to a human would combine his soul with hers.)
It came up in 1.0, but I didn’t really realize how important I wanted it to be, and how much it affected the story. I was really intrigued by this aspect that Disney took out (well, they took out a lot of things), and as I planned and wrote this ending, it became a very integral part of the plot line.
(Not to mention that there was a little scene that was like a fluffy bit of goodness and I love it to death.)
Writing the end was pretty awesome, and it’s also helped me as I restart with Battle Song 2.0! I’ve written one chapter, and it’s pretty great, mostly because of the development I did. Everything is a lot more important to Amrya as a character and expressed in much better ways.
So, writing the end? I’d call it a success.
let us speak to each other wonderful words
Well…that was kind of a rambly post. What did you think? It was supposed to be a writing advice post but I think it turned into more of an update post, so…oops.
Have you ever tried writing/planning out the ending to your stories/novels first? How do you plan for your ending? How do you plan your novel–or do you? What things are absolutely essential to figure out before you start writing?
Oh, and check out Battle Song‘s new page! It’s even got a synopsis and everything. *wink wink*
Don’t ask me why I winked there. I just did.