How Does Your Novel End?


To Emilie Hardie with an impressive 7782 words to date. You are on a roll! Send me your address at and I will drop your copy of Stephen King’s On Writing in the mail to you right away.

To the rest of you, keep up the good work. I am excited to see we have a healthy competition in the works. I set aside a chunk of time yesterday and managed to write 1001 words, which is not as many as I would have liked. I’m still struggling with my editor brain. Wish I could flip a switch. As my piano teacher used to say, “Practice Makes Perfect.” The important thing is we are writing every day.

I love this global world we live in. It’s wonderful to connect with friends from Europe all the way to Hawaii. I live in Virginia, in the Eastern Standard Time Zone. No worries about the deadlines for entries. We are pretty slack around here. As long as you are within a couple of hours.

Now . . . on to today’s post


I like to swim. A lot. In fact, I swim at least a mile a day. Swimming keeps me sane. Some people can’t endure the monotony of swimming laps, but I thrive on it. I plan my meals and I plan my day. And much like Brian Castner, I use this time to work through issues in my WIP.


Casey, the young protagonist in my WIP, and I have grown close over the past couple of months. Although he confided in me about the drama in his life, he was hesitant to tell me how his story ends. The other day I told him, “Casey, I’m going to dive into this pool and I’m not getting out until you finish your story.” What I learned was worth the wait.

That same afternoon I stumbled upon this video:

Videos provided by: Knopf Doubleday


What about you?

Do you start with an interesting character or an intriguing plot scenario?

Do you know how your story ends before you begin to write?

Do you outline or fly by the seat of your pants?


10 thoughts on “How Does Your Novel End?

  1. Usually my characters come to me telling me part of their stories, I never outline or even plot, but usually when they tell me something I’m not sure about, I do like to research on it. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants, but with them providing guidelines so I don’t go insane. I read a lot, reading makes me feel I can write better and my characters love making friends with characters from other people’s worlds

      • I love to read almost all genres, but I love writing fantasy, fiction and YA. I have a books review blog and everyone says I’m very eclectic in my book choices… only recently it’s mostly pnr or fantasy YA because that’s what authors send me… 🙂

  2. I always start with a very small kernel of an idea, then I come up with a character for that situation and develop the rest of the plot from how the character reacts. I guess I do outline but the outline is always up for change. Since I just write and only check back to the outline, when I’m stuck, that actually happens quite a lot. It often turns fairly basic endings to something surprising.

      • Absolutely, though I often have the problem of minor characters promoting themselves to major characters without much input from me, and then I end up with casts that are too large.

  3. I usually start with either a character idea or a brief plot idea and take it from there. I’m very much a “seat-of-the-pants” writer, though I’m actually doing some planning, researching, and character building for my April Camp NaNoWriMo novel.

  4. I start generally speaking with an idea of a plot and then I try to figure out who would be involved in this. What kind of person is living there. I have two current WIP, and the short story began in a dream. So, I’m just working out the dreamscape, giving it dialogue and getting it to make sense.

    I’m a plantser. I plan in so much as having a general direction, and ideas for scenes in chapters, and a notion of how the end should be. Then the story takes me wherever. And sometimes those initial ideas get weeded out, changed around or they were right the first time. That’s what I love about writing. It’s a discovery for me.

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