When you start writing your book, you no doubt have an ending in mind. Â Obviously, the last page of any novel is a long way from the first and so much can happen on the journey from start to finish. It can be hard to grasp a complete ending when you just begin writing.
This is not a problem – as long as you always keep the beginning of the story in your mind. Stronger endings are always ones which are linked to the start. You donâ€™t need to follow a completely smooth path on your way to the end, but you do need to remember where you came from and know where youâ€™ve been. The start and finish are, in a sense, mirror images of each other; the beginning asks a question and the end should answer it. This is the key to every successful story and those who fail to answer the questions risk failing to reach their goal of becoming a successful author.
Of course, many successful books and stories have ambiguous endings, however it is a big risk to take and even though questions may be left unanswered, not all are and the story still follows a path arriving at a situation linked to the beginning.
Asking the right questions at the start will allow you easily answer them at the end. However, what is are these very important questions? The first one that needs to be asked is the hook question – the purpose of which is to grab the readerâ€™s attention instantly.Â It may be answered shortly after asking it, but it needs to make the reader to want to turn page after page.
The question that is to be answered at the end is the story question and one with themes running the whole way through the plot. Common questions include:
- Will they fall in love?
- Does justice prevail?
- Are the baddies caught?
More specific questions will of course be related to each character and their own situations, but again need to be asked at the start of the story and answered at the end.
Once this question(s) has been asked, you need to make a note to ensure you answer it at the end. Donâ€™t get carried away by sub-plots as answering the question is the only way to reach continuity. Time the answer right (not stating it too soon and not dragging it out so that there it becomes boring).
You will need to give the questions and their timings some thought before putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) but by giving yourself planning time, you can develop a strong plot with well-developed characters.