That book idea of yours? Where does it start? At the beginning? And… Then what? This, Ladies and Gentle-squires, is where most novel ideas begin and
end. A charismatic protagonist, compelling premise, and possibly even
a shapely opening sentence, do not a novel make. But they’re most definitely the makings of a novel.
The secret ingredient you’re searching for is The End. Great food is
emotive before we’ve even tasted it. Great fiction creates expectation before we turn the page. Recipes begin with end results, captured in a final shot. Book blurbs exist for this exact same reason.
So, that book idea of yours? Let’s skip the beginning, (Plot ingredients) and hit up the Recipe books of plated creations, instead. What does it look like, that final scene? Peruse at leisure. Find appealing flavours, ingredients you’re curious about, and set that Writing table.
Is your Sci-Fi Hero stranded in Apocalyptic wasteland? A Noir-inspired heroine double-crosses our faithful protagonist? The birth of an heir irrevocably alters British history? A Japanese Akita runs into a dense forest? Absolutely none of the above?
Begin with your closing scene. As a writer, it’s far more useful than
an opening scene. It offers the benefit of hindsight towards
conclusion. Writing your way out encourages a chain of events, the
same way recipes offer plated results. Questions are endless, purposeful, and enjoyable, creating an appetite in the Writer before served to Readers.
When we roll up our sleeves and enter the Kitchen, we begin with the end
in mind. An outcome mentally propped against the toaster, (or fancy
iron stand for The Bold), to remind us why we slave over a hot
keyboard, adding a touch of spice and a spoonful of sugar, here-and-there. It’s the simmering promise of that finished creation, the final scene.