There I was, standing at the sink, styling my facial hair. I’d just finished using the #3 clippers to trim my goatee and was working on shaving away everything around it…without disturbing the sideburns, of course. All of a sudden (which is how most epiphanies come to me), I figured out the ending to my next teen novel. And that is a beautiful thing.
A few months ago, when I turned in the outline to my editor, it was nine pages long. But here was my description for how everything in the story wrapped up:
(But I’m kind of excited to find out.)
Anyway, up until a couple days ago, I was moving at a snail’s pace when it came to writing my first draft. I would sit down at my desk to write, but it just wouldn’t flow. So I’d go to Linnaea’s Café to write, but that didn’t work either. I even checked myself into a hotel once, but wound up watching a lot of television cuz we don’t have one of those beautiful things at my house.
But now? Now it’s flowin', baby! It’s flowing like a [insert perfect analogy here]...if you know what I mean.
Originally, I didn’t think I needed to know exactly how things ended in order to get a handle on my story. But knowing the ending, oddly enough, has helped me better understand the scenes I’m writing right now that will eventually lead to the ending. Because if the ending is inevitable (as all endings should be…but without being predictable), the only thing that makes it that way is how your characters grow throughout the rest of the story. And "the rest of the story" is what I’m writing now.
In a way, it’s similar to playing God (which I haven't done since getting kicked out of Sunday School, by the way). Our characters will seem totally unrealistic unless it appears they’re acting upon their own freewill. And yet, we are ultimately in control and know how everything ends up.
Unless, of course, this bathroom epiphany turns out the same way as my first bathroom epiphany. The original ending of Thirteen Reasons Why was completely different than the one you’ll end up reading in less than three months.