What To Do, What To Do. I Know! Ask Other Writers on the Internet!

Here’s the issue: I’m at a point in Meet the Larssons where I can see I’ve got a long way to go to get to the end, and I’m not entirely sure which of the many available paths to take to get there. I do know, however, what the final scene will be, and could probably knock it out in close to final form in one evening. I’ve had it in my head since I started working on the thing. (Note to self: in future posts, refer to MTL as “The Thing.” It sounds appropriately tortured and arty.)

Mrs. Unfocused thinks that would be cheating, like eating dessert before dinner, and that I should only get to write the ending as a reward for writing everything that comes before it.

I know at least some of you are struggling with (or breezing through) your own works in progress. Have you written your endings already? Would you ever? Or never never?

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8 responses to “What To Do, What To Do. I Know! Ask Other Writers on the Internet!

  1. If I’m ever hung up on a scene, I don’t feel guilty at all switching to another scene, even out of sequence. For me, the important thing is to get the writing out. All the scenes are going to go together–and yes, if I write them out of sequence, I might find I have to go back and change some things later. But I want to BE WRITING, not BE STUCK. If you are blocked now, and you know you have another scene, even the ending, that you can flow with, I’d go for it.

  2. I almost always write out of order. When you’re stuck, move on and do something else for a while, whether that means writing another section of the story or writing something else entirely. With shorter fiction works, I often write the beginning and then the end and then outline the middle and go back and fill it in. And then rewrite it all over again. With the Dissertation that Ate Manhattan, I’ve ordered and reordered things so many times, I’m not even sure how things were put together, but I know that I started with the middle and then did the beginning. The very last chapter is the only thing I have not written yet. In this case, it has to be conclusions of what I’ve written already and so I need to have the rest of my ducks in a row (including all the rewriting and reorganization) before I get there. But by all means write the end. If only because if you do and you feel good about it, it can get you unstuck just by dint of restoring your confidence.

  3. If you’re stuck, kill someone off. It’ll certainly take your readers by surprise.

  4. With my novel, I knew how it would end but I didn’t know exactly how I was going to get there. I just kept writing and writing my way to the end and things changed a bit, new characters popped up along the way, but I didn’t worry too much about it. Eventually, I got to the end and it was different than I’d originally thought it would be but I think it was better.

  5. This is something I’m struggling with right now. I want so badly to write some scenes out of order since I’m a little stuck, but I’m a coward since I’ve never written out of sequence before. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

  6. Thanks for all of the suggestions, everyone. I haven’t quite made up my mind what to do for the simple reason that I’m haven’t worked on the novel today, and won’t until tomorrow. If the words come for the next scene in the sequence, I’ll probably just gut it out; I’ll let you all know.

  7. I have the same problem. The ending scene is clear in my head. Now I just have to get there. I find it easier to map out what I am thinking in MS Visio. Just think of the story threads that will get you to that point. And then draw them in Visio. When you see something tangible you’ll have a better idea on how to proceed.

    TIP: These threads should be more than just ideas try going with actual scenes. It makes more sense that way.

  8. That’s a good suggestion, Saqib. I’m not much for outlining, but if I get really stuck, I’ll give it a try the way you describe it (I don’t have Visio, so I couldn’t do exactly what you describe). As it turned out, I got my legs back under me within a day or so after this post, and I’m plowing along again.

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