The King of Hearts once told the White Rabbit, “Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”1
I guess that seems logical, especially in the realm of writing. Unfortunately, I am sometimes an illogical person. One would think that in order to write a story, one must start at the beginning. Yet, this is one of those “writing rules” that I have never been able to follow. See, I suffer with a sickness where I cannot start at the beginning; I have to start at the end.
When I know how a story is to end that is when I know how it is to begin. It seems that my mind is wired a bit differently, but luckily I do not suffer from this disease alone. One of the greatest authors of the macabre, Edgar Allen Poe, was an avid believer that a story’s plot should be written from the end to the beginning.
I usually begin by drafting out exactly word for word how my story is to end then slowly arc into the events that lead into the end, stopping when the story begins. Sometimes, after writing the ending, I jump to the beginning, draft the introductory paragraph, and then plot the middle. Other times, I write down a mélange of events that I envision happening and then script the beginning, which is followed by chronologically setting the plot pieces together from those drafted events. Nevertheless, in each and every case the ending is always the first part that I start with.
Yes, I know I am backwards. However, as a writer in the genre of the macabre, it is quintessential that a story ends with terror – always. If an ending does not instill an emotion of horror within the audience, then I do not feel that the story has the effect that I need. The story is set aside to fester in my brain until the ending is perfect. Once the ending is perfect, the story can begin.
This is one of many characteristics that make me a unique writer, and I embrace it. Be proud of your unique characteristics, defy the rules, embrace your individuality, and use correct grammar.
1Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, New York : MacMillan. (1865). Print.
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