I know it seems incredible, but this is the way I work: I never decide the events leading up to the ending until the… End.
I have a chapter by chapter outline, but the ending is always pretty vague, and tends to change quite a bit over the months involved in writing a book. I just started Chapter 19 of Wintermoon Ice, which will be the final chapter. Yesterday I put the final plot twist in place. Why wait so long?
Well, the thing about plot twists is, you want them to come out of nowhere. The reader must be surprised and yet, the twist device must sit “naturally” within the arc of the story. A tall order. For me, it is easier to decide at the end, and go back and salt the story with tiny clues. This time I had two ideas in mind. I tried the first, but ran into logistical problems almost immediately. (How to get the body back up the stairs, basically.) Nothing worked. Nothing seemed natural. So taking a Taoist approach, I bagged this twist and went on to the next one.
Now I’m happy! 🙂
Maybe other authors do it the other way round…
What I am listening to: Arie Antiche/Dmitri Hvorostovsky
What I am reading: The Red Cross Girls With Pershing to Victory/Margaret Vandercook