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Finding the Ending

The EndI’ve just finished my first draft of a short sci fi story set about 500 years in the future. As I’ve gotten back into my writing with a vengeance this last year, I’ve been re-learning my writing process.

Every author is different. Some like to write in the middle of the night (or do so out of necessity). Some can only write for 10-20 minutes at a time, while others like to go on writing retreats and dedicate themselves for a week at a time to the art. Some write full-time, while others fit it around an unrelated full-time job.

I’ve found that I write best in short but focused sessions. I try to set aside an hour each day, and then also sneak in sessions in my spare bits of time. I’ll write a scene on my iPhone at the theatre while they are running that half hour of commercial crap before the film. Or I’ll work on some edits in bed for a bit on the iPad. God, I love iCloud.

But one of the things I find fascinating about how my writing brain works is the ending. These days, I usually start a story with a decent idea of where it’s going and what the central conflict will be. But my brain seems to like to throw in a curve ball as I near the ending.

Often, it’s like the opening of a flower, or an unexpected vista after a long hike. Suddenly it’s there, and it makes sense, but often it’s totally not what I thought was going to happen.

Case in point – I wrote a story for submission to a Dreamspinner anthology a couple months ago, and it was a fairly straightforward romance. Boy meets boy, boy falls in love with boy, obstacles arise, boy gets boy in the end. But when my husband Mark read it, he didn’t like the ending. And he actually kind of liked the cheating ex better than the new beau.

Then it clicked. The ex wins back the guy in a twist ending.

A similar thing happened in my current WIP – I had set up two main characters, and at the last minute, I discovered my secondary character wasn’t at all who I thought he was. But it fit.

So how about you? What’s your process? How do you find your ending?

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