writers do not begin to write until they think of a title first. Others
may not start until they have the ending in mind. Some just get an idea
and let it take them wherever it goes. Since there are no rigid laws in
creative writing, keep in mind there is more than one way to accomplish
your goal to write an interesting story.
But the easiest way is to begin with the end of your story in mind.
This advice "to begin with the end in mind" was coined by a famous
psychologist/writer by the name of Dr. Stephen Covey. He believes
successful people can visualize their future lives, education goals, or finished projects and have a much easier time to attain them.
Like a ship captain who doesn't leave the harbor until he has a
destination in mind, many writers think at length of a storyline,
possible characters, and the ending before they begin to write. Often
the story crystallizes with a title that symbolically brings all these
various elements together.
In Hollywood, it is said that an entire movie can be summarized in one
short paragraph on the back of a business card. You've seen this many
times when the caption about a movie in the television guide describes
it in one paragraph.
The same can be said about your chapter for this never-ending story.
Just think of a title first, then the plot and characters will begin to
take shape. If you do know the ending, it will make your story much
easier to write.
Writers often think they must write from the first chapter to the
last, which certainly makes sense. Like a guide on a mountain trail, as
the writer your story may have many twists and turns until it reaches a
final destination. Don't be upset in the beginning if you don't know
where your story is taking your readers since the plot may unfold as you
write. You may have an ending in mind, or you may not, but the fun is
the trip from the beginning to the ending. Just have fun thinking and
being creative because you may change the plot and the ending as the
storyline unfolds in your mind.
On rare occasion, it may be just the opposite. For example, Margaret Mitchell who authored Gone with the Wind,
wrote her book from the back to the front. Incredibly, she wrote the
last chapter first, then wrote each chapter until she arrived at the
first chapter. While that may sound odd, it worked for her to write one
of the most popular books in history. She did begin with the end in
As you can see, there are no steadfast rules to writing, which is why it
is so fun to play creatively without rules sometimes. While there are
certainly rules about grammar, sentence structure, and basic
composition, that will come as you mature as a writer or when you take
journalism classes in school or college. For now, just start thinking
about anything that sounds like a good story, and that beings with
brainstorming that we'll discuss in Lesson 2.