Reverse Writing – by Jena Galifany
Many writers share how they write in patchwork, or state that they can only write in chronological order. They begin with a beginning and maybe an end, perhaps a few bits in the middle. Plotting is used… or not. No pattern is right or wrong. It only matters what works for you as a writer. As long as you have the strong beginning, a middle that does not sag, and an ending that leaves the reader satisfied by tying up all the loose ends—or at least most of them. For me, the only way I can do that is by reverse writing.
I find my characters roaming around in my head. I’m never quite sure where they come from but they show up one day with their attitudes, their tremendous egos, and their baggage, what ever that may consist of. We face off on a field of blank screen in a word program and we wrestle for some time, getting to know each other and learning how the other one thinks. This can take a day, a week or a month. Sometimes longer but it is a necessary step for me before I toss that character into a climactic ending right off the bat.
I know where I want that character or his/her situation to end up. That is my starting point. Example: in the ShadowsForge series published by Whiskey Creek Press, I wrote Three Times a Hero, knowing that Ty Synclair would say the words, “I wrote it.” Okay. What did he write? Well, he’s a bass player so it should probably be a song. Why would he tell someone he wrote it? If he was well known, she (for a romance it would need to be a romantic interest) should know who he is and probably know that he wrote it. But if she didn’t know who he was… why wouldn’t she recognize him? She couldn’t see him. Why not? Blind. Okay, that’s workable. Was she always blind? No. Would she continue to be blind? I’d rather not. So… why is she temporarily blind? Head injury. From what? Car accident.
I could go on but I think you get the idea. I like to know why or how things happen or why they are the way they are. In the theater, I think that is called method acting. So, I’m a method writer, I would suppose. I write by starting at the end and planning backward. It seems to work better for me that way.
I’ve tried to write chronologically but I always get off on rabbit trails and have difficulty getting back to where I should be. I gave that up after I wrote my orphaned dark romance, Her Perfect Man. It ended up choppy, in my opinion. It was published but the publisher closed their doors for personal reasons in November 2007. It is a blessing, though, because I now have the opportunity to rework it and fix what I noticed after it was published.
I’ve been blessed in my writing so far and I hope that the trend continues into the coming years. The best way I can see to have continued success is to keep writing… backward.
ShadowsForge Series – Available at Whiskey Creek Press.com