A Follower on my Twitter feed lamented that she was 20,000 words into a work in progress (WIP) and didn’t think she could finish the piece. That she’d put it in a drawer with several other WIPs she just couldn’t finish. She asked everyone for advice. “Why can’t I finish?” she said.

I immediately Tweeted that she should set aside the material she had and write the ending of the story she wanted to tell.

I wasn’t the only one. When I scrolled down, I discovered several other writers had given the same advice.

Why is this a workable idea?

In the first place, you really should know the end of your story before you even begin. Unless you’re gripped with an overwhelming vision of your opening scene (and that does happen), you need a firm grasp of what you intend to accomplish before you open up the first scene.

How can you possibly set a story up unless you know where you’re going in the first place?

I also suggested to my Follower that her opening 20,000 words would very likely be affected by her now-clear vision of the end.

I’m a huge advocate of jotting down extensive notes setting out what your story is about, who the characters are, what they need to achieve in the story, and any research you need to do to make the story convincing. Don’t “try” to write. Let your mind flow freely over the details of your story. I even prefer to take my Blackfeet Indian pencil and write out notes on yellow, lined paper before I even turn the computer on.

This is different from outlining, which can be difficult. Note-taking preparation is, and should be, fun. And you can do it anywhere!

So there you have it, my friends. Writing is like a road trip. You need a clear and definite destination or you’ll wind up wandering like a gypsy.

My Follower has now Tweeted that she wrote her ending, but she was still having trouble connecting the end with her first 20,000 words. I have a suggestion about that, too, which I’ll post tomorrow or the next day.

From the author of Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, , US Kindle, UK Kindle, and Smashwords, The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more, on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

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