I've read a few articles over the last year that all speak to the importance of knowing the ending of your story before you start to write. I read them, nodded sagely, and moved on. Then I read a quote from an interview this week.
“I always write the last scene first.”
The very successful author went on to say, “Then I work my way backward from how I want the audience to feel when they get there. But I always know my ending.”
Micheal Arndt wasn’t talking about “knowing where you’re going.” He was talking about literally writing the last scene before anything else. I don’t read the last page of a book unit I get to it. This is not something I’m especially comfortable with.
But when I told my wife about it, she immediately said, “Yes! That’s brilliant.” (Actually, she didn’t use the word brilliant, but it’s what she meant.) (Okay, that’s only sort of what she meant.) What my wife really said was, “Yes! That’s exactly you’re problem. You get going just fine, stories that I want to hear, but then you sort of wander off and just stop.”
I am now trying to deal with the finality of working from my last scene. Where do I want the audience to be? Which of my characters will get them there? It’s harder than it sounds. Imagine Mr. Monk getting a ‘9’ tattooed on his body. Or better yet, a ‘9.5’