Reader Friday: Endings Or Beginnings?

Which is more difficult for you to write: endings or beginnings? How many drafts does it typically take you to settle on a final version?

13 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Endings Or Beginnings?

  1. Endings are much more difficult for me. Writing the beginning to a work is the start of an exciting new adventure. Even though I usually have an ending in mind, by the time I get there things have shifted considerably and the “exciting new adventure” has turned into a long slow trek.

    I write so many drafts that I can’t even venture a guess.

  2. Beginnings are much harder for me. As Truant Librarian says, the start is a new adventure but is that first beginning the right place to start the story? Hardly ever, in my experience. So much promise must be packed into the beginning–hint at compelling conflict/problem, a interesting protagonist the reader will bond with, just enough setting and background to orient the reader, etc, etc, etc.

    I don’t keep count but estimate the beginning needs to be rewritten 20-50 times for my novels.

    If the story is set up well, the ending–as William Kittredge says–must be surprising yet inevitable.

  3. Beginnings are harder for me. I have to build the world, introduce the characters, and keep readers interested without being overwhelmed. Once the story is stared, the ending is easy.

  4. Oddly enough, I find beginnings and endings to be the easiest part of the story.

    It’s the dag-nabbed middle that drives me bonkers.

  5. By a long shot beginnings are harder for me. As to how many drafts, I was never good at math and can’t count that high. LOL! I’m riddled with so much angst when I start a story. Even though I reject “rules for rules’ sake” ideology in writing, you’re still plagued by them when you start a story. You’re thinking things like “Everybody says a prologue is evil. But do I need more explanation here?” or you find yourself uncertain at exactly which moment of action/conflict to start the story.

    A story whose first 15 pages I submitted to and won a contest on, I must have re-written that thing 15 times. At least.

    Not saying endings aren’t hard for me, not to mention the “dag-nabbed middle” 😎 Jim mentioned above, but comparatively speaking, endings are less stressful.

  6. Endings, definitely, but mostly because I allow my conscious mind to try to “figure things out.” When I’m on a roll (thankfully, that’s most of the time) I tend to write past the ending. When I know the end is near and the energy starts to go out of the writing, I stop and back up a few lines. Most often I find I’ve already written the ending. (grin) Never beginnings or openings. Those are just a hoot. I revel in writing the opening of the book and then the opening of each scene and chapter. Love ’em.

  7. Beginnings by far, although it’s not getting started that’s hard. I always think it’s fun to set off on a new journey. However, getting that beginning *good* is another thing entirely. Not being a plotter, I never know if I’m in the middle or not, so I just keep throwing things at my characters within the structure of whichever genre I’m working on at the time.

  8. i usually already have the ending in mind before I start to write, the game is figuring out how they got there and making the various plotlines intersect at the right moments.

  9. I’m working on my first novel and I am having a hard time trying to decide where to open. I worry about opening too soon, how to introduce what needs to be introduced without info dumps. So, definitely beginnings.

  10. Endings are really tough for me. There’s a filmmaker who directs really exciting and creepy movies, but his endings are almost “And then they woke up!” I hate that sort of ending and fear my own story endings will evoke the same reaction. I suspect a lot of it is performance anxiety.

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