I “Finished” Battle Song–Writing With the End in Mind

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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 pivotalintense 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 outEven 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 pageIt’s even got a synopsis and everything. *wink wink* Don’t ask me why I winked there. I just did.

Spotlight #4: A Novel for Sundays

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In Monthly Dares: January 2017, I mentioned that on Sundays I was writing a different novel than Enhanced in order to try to honor the Sabbath more, and today I shall be talking about that novel!

The decision not to write my normal novel on Sundays came…I don’t know, a year or two ago, when I was doing NaNoWriMo. I decided that I wanted to not have to think about it or worry about it on Sundays, and just go to church and spend time with my family. Sometimes, it’s hard not to write when the characters are crowding my head, but I haven’t done it since then.

However, doing the 365k challenge this year posed a problem…if I was to write 1000 words every day, that meant I’d have to write a thousand words on Sunday as well. And so I found this novel that I’d written a prologue and part of a first chapter of beforehand and decided to continue it this year. (See, that way, it doesn’t count as starting a new novel, so I’m not breaking any resolutions.)

It’s a contemporary romance about this independent, stubborn girl (well, adult) named Scarlett, and some of the challenges she has to go through with her faith and life. I’ve read a lot of romances by LDS authors, and while some of them touched on the subject of their faith, I’d never really found one that really showed the progression of faith and how that changed the character–they were all just about the romance.

So this novel was born from me wanting to write something where the main character has to really go through some big spiritual development, with some romance on the side.

Basically the idea is that Scarlett has been running from her life for the past year or two because of a lot of really hard things that all occurred around the same time, and she just felt like she had to get away.

One day, she finds herself back in her home state of Utah, in a little town called Heatherfield, where her old car (lovingly called Miss Must) breaks down in front of a box of zucchini and a house for rent.

A series of “coincidences” occur, and Scarlett finds that everything has fallen in place for her to settle down for a few months in Heatherfield. Throughout her time in the little LDS town, she has to show her resilience and be humbled, to give up her pride and fears and trust in the Lord–and those around her.

It’s about her spiritual journey and how she herself improves, and has to give up things, and try new things, and fix her mistakes, and…I’m really happy about it. I don’t know yet what specific things are going to happen to her, but I love the concept of the novel and that I can include my faith and testimony in it, which is so precious to me.

Since this is a Spotlight, I’m going to include a little excerpt here of one of my favorite parts that I’ve written. It’s by no means polished, but I love its message.



All the way out of Heatherfield, my mind was drawn back to Lane and that old house. It wasn’t that either had been particularly special, but…it was just nice to talk to someone normally again.

Missy started stuttering as I drove past the church. “Don’t you dare break down again, Miss Must.”

Even with me threatening her full name, Missy still shuddered to a halt, just in front of the church where I’d prayed earlier.

I leaned my head against the steering wheel and closed my eyes. “This is it. Next time I can get to a car dealership, I’m going to buy something better than you,” I muttered to Missy.

After I let the threat sink in, I tried the car again. Nothing. I then tried to appease Missy, telling her how much I appreciated her, but nothing worked. What was it Lane had said he’d done? Something about the engine…or maybe the battery? I couldn’t even remember.

I’d learned in primary to pray in situations that seemed hopeless, so I figured it was worth a shot. Heavenly Father, please help Missy to start again so that I can leave. Thank you. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Nothing. Of course it hadn’t worked. It wasn’t like any of my other prayers had ever been answered; why should this one, the smallest of them all, be the one He listened to?

I looked out the window again at the church. On the other side of the street, just an hour ago, I’d sat there and prayed for an answer. I hadn’t seen a vision; I hadn’t heard a voice. I wasn’t even sure if the Spirit had said anything.

But five minutes later, Missy had broken down just in front of Lane’s house, where he’d shown me a house that should have been on sale but the owners were considering renting. And now, just when I was about to leave Heatherfield, Missy had broken down again.

Heavenly Father…? Maybe I shouldn’t even have to ask you this, but…is this the answer to my prayers? Am I supposed to stay in Heatherfield? Is this where I’m supposed to be?

I hadn’t even said “amen” when I felt something a little indescribable. I hadn’t felt it in a long time, the sense of warmth and complete peace that filled my heart, emptying my mind of all its doubts. The Spirit.

Thank you, I whispered to my Father.

Character Studies: Lil’s Beliefs

 

imageIt’s time for you to finally meet Lil! Yay, who’s excited? She got slightly introduced in this post I wrote before I left, about all the characters in Enhanced, but now you get to meet her even more fully. And yes, I do realize that these are the questions from July, but I’m not going to skip them because I want Lil to answer them. The questions are on beliefs, ideals, and morals, which will be lots of fun!

Character Studies is a monthly character interview hosted by Morgan Dusky from Studies in Character. You can find this month’s (well, last month’s) interview questions on her blog here and here.


  • Do you believe in true love?

Yes, I do, but it doesn’t have to be romantic. True love can be familial or brotherly or friendly as well, but it just goes deeper than normal love. True love is when you would sacrifice everything to help that other person.

  • How about love at first sight?

I don’t think so, not like how it sounds. There can be affection at first sight, longing perhaps, but not real love. That comes later, with time, lots of time.

  • Have you ever been in love—like really in love?

Yes. Yes, I have.

  • Do you believe in second chances?

Of course. Where would I be without second chances? I’ve made too many mistakes to count.

  • Is there something more to life?

I do believe so. I think there is a reason we are here and that we don’t die at death–not all of us, anyway. A part of us must stay alive, somehow. That’s what I’ve been taught to believe…that’s what I have to believe.

  • Do you believe in unicorns?  (Hint: If you say you don’t, somewhere a unicorn dies.)

*laughs* In that case, yes I do.

  • Are you superstitious?  Why?

I guess it depends on what you mean by superstitious. I don’t feel superstitious but maybe that’s simply because my beliefs seem normal to me. I believe that good comes from doing good and bad from bad,

  • Somebody you just met claims to be a time-traveler from the future.  Do you believe them?

I think part of me would believe them, and part of me would think they were just joking. They’d have to prove it, I think.

  • What would paradise look like?

Kaelan and our son son and I, all of us together. That would be paradise.

  • Bonus: What are your thoughts on balloons?

Balloons? Toddlers love them, and I think they’re pretty fun too.

  • What happens, do you think, when you die?

I don’t think we die–not every part of us. Some part of us keeps on living, survives the death, and goes on to a better place, a happier place where everyone can finally rest and be at peace.

  • Are you afraid of dying?

Yes. No. I…I know I’m supposed to know that something more will come, that I should be content with the future and what it may bring, but…I am frightened. I know there will be no pain, but what if it is not everything I was grown up to believe in? What if I die, and it’s just…the end? That’s what I’m afraid of.

  • What is the most irrational fear you have?

I’m afraid of getting hurt or wounded, and I’m not entirely sure why, considering I wouldn’t actually feel anything. Perhaps it’s just that everyone else is afraid, and they’ve passed that on to me.

  • Why are you afraid of that thing, even knowing it’s irrational?

I think what I said above–it’s sort of rubbed off on me from other people. And some part of me, because of that, is afraid that it really will hurt, that if my hand gets cut off or I get shot in the back, I’ll feel the pain for the first time I can remember, and I can’t imagine how much worse it’d feel without experiencing a smaller portion of it before.

  • You’ve just been threatened and told that if you tell anybody about what happened to you, you’ll die (or worse).  Do you tell anyone, or do you lie about what happened?

I wouldn’t tell anyone what had happened. If Kaelan… Maybe eventually I’d tell somebody, if I felt like it was safe, but I’d lie rather than run the risk of dying–or worse, having someone close to me get hurt because of it.

  • The one person who could save you is the person you trust least in the world.  What do you do?

I wouldn’t let them save me. I’d rather die.

  • Would you, or have you, ever killed anyone?

I’ve never killed anyone, and I never would. That’s horrible. To take someone else’s life…it’s so wrong, and I wouldn’t be able to bear the mere thought of myself were I to commit murder.

  • Do you have any recurring dreams and/or nightmares?

No. Blessedly, my sleep is normally very calm and free of dreams or nightmares, at least most of the time. When I do dream, it’s very odd, and nightmares are far and few between.

  • You’re going to die in exactly fifteen minutes.  What do you do with those minutes?

It depends on how I was going to die. If we were all being threatened and about to die, I’d spend my last minutes protecting my friends as much as possible. If I were alone…I think I would pray and pour out my soul to the sky. I would think of all I have lost, and all I have loved, of Kaelan and my baby.

  • Bonus: How long is your attention span?

I’m decent at paying attention, but the times when I’m not seem to always be the times when it was the most important.


Ahh, so there’s Lil! And I have finally finished this post, despite school being a little bit crazy busy at the beginning. (Short school update: I like all my classes and teachers, so I’m liking school, but I’m kept busy by homework and my marching band practices, not to mention things like writing and spending time with my family.)

Anyway, how did you like Lil? I feel like she made sure to answer some of these questions shallowly…but maybe the vagueness made her more mysterious or intriguing or something like that, heh. I do love Lil, though. She’s so interesting. Do you have any questions about her? I’m ready to answer them! (Unless there’s spoilers…then you’ll just have to wonder.)

And also, lastly, how have you all been? Is life getting busier at the start of a new school year? Anything exciting happening? Tell me about all the fun (or not fun, I suppose) you’re having!