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

add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

My characters are gaining personalities. One has become painfully shy. The heroine has a relationship with his brother. The conflict, taking place in the first chapter, involves these three young people, an assault, and a case of mistaken identity. Hopefully this initial bit of excitement will hook the reader (if they haven’t been already–this is the fourth book in the series, after all.)

A word on plot. I am writing a series of books, so I have to write stories that work on a number of levels. There is the story that begins and ends within each book. There are main characters, conflict and a satisfying resolution within this framework. THEN there is the big story that stretches over the course of the four books. It also has main characters (some different,) a much larger conflict and a resolution that wraps up all the loose ends from all four books (a tall order.) In addition to this there are the hidden themes that I incorporate into each book.

More about that next time.