Know the ending before you start

I write my novels and stories knowing the beginning, the end and the principal themes before I start. From those basic facts, I then plan out chapters with notes about what I will cover in those chapters. After that, I begin writing the individual scenes and events that occur in those chapters. Often the location of the scenes gets reshuffled several times during the course of the writing process. Knowing the beginning and ending of the story helps me stay on message and avoid wandering off into other areas. For example here is the epilogue of The Man Who Conquered Mars.


“Pretty much what I figured, Mandy.  The ammo box was shipped to Mars six years ago, containing personal items for Colonel Wiseman.”  Jensen spoke as he looked at the bill of lading on his computer screen.  “At least that’s what our technical consultant said after analyzing the electronic documents.”

“You don’t believe that bilge, do you, Ole?”  Mandy spoke with frustration leaking into her tone.

“Of course not, no more than I believe that Wiseman could be bribed.  Nothing in his history—and we have looked pretty close—nothing implies that he could be bought at any price.  By the same token, with his connections in the Pentagon, he could have this evidence rigged up so no one, much less us, could prove it is phony.”

“Well, what do you believe happened?  What is this all about?”

“I think that the story we presented in our original report, even though we had to retract it, is actually true.  T. A. Scott really was the man who conquered Mars.”

“I agree, Boss, but it’s like Mallory climbing Everest: we suspect it but can’t prove it.  Every line of evidence we have has been cut.  Whatever is in that cave is so valuable that Triple M, SEC, and Mars Corporation went to a lot of trouble to keep it a secret.  Wiseman even copped to taking a bribe to make the whole thing look like a hoax.  My theory is that the knowledge used to develop the ship in which Scott flew to Mars is either in the box, the cave, or both.  We will never see any of it except as marketable products now that SEC and the others have it.  I’d say that Mars would be a pretty good investment.  In fact, I think I’ll call my stock broker right now.”

“You are always right about money, Mandy, so I will consider that a hot tip.”



  1. Merlene says:

    Interesting – thank you

  2. Jo Michaels says:

    You are braver than I am. I never know the ending until I’m writing it. Yassa shocked me. I never expected Genghis to do what he did. Do your endings ever change slightly? WRITE ON!

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