I have a few different pieces of writing on the go at the moment. The ones that have been most successful (read – the ones that have been finished) have been those where I know where I’m going.
For these stories, I will often start out with a beginning and an end in mind. I may not know how I will get to that ending, but I know where I’m going.
I was explaining this to the members of the Young Writer’s Group I run, and I explained it them that it’s a bit like driving somewhere without a map or GPS. I have a vague idea that to get to Geelong from my house, I need to drive West, and by going in the rough direction, I’ll get there eventually! I may make some strange turns and end up in some places that I didn’t expect, but I will reach my destination.
Some stories I have a better idea of where I’m going than others (I do know how to get to Geelong as I used to live there!), but that doesn’t seem to matter all that much.
There are a couple of stories I’m working on that have stalled, mostly because I haven’t worked out where I’m going, other than I want a happy ending! When I eventually work out the ending then I’m sure they’ll get finished in no time at all.
Even though having an ending in mind is helpful, there is the occasional story that will take me in an entirely new direction and end up somewhere completely unexpected. Sometimes these stories will stall while I work out a new destination, but there are other times when the new direction is just what the story needs. In that case, it’s best to just go with the flow.
I know this method won’t work for everyone, but it seems to work for me and keep those ideas flowing.