Yesterday I spent the day on the work-in-progress which now, for the first time ever, has an ending. It also has a new front-runner for the title.
I've been writing quite a bit of new material and had reached a point where I needed to get organised and put all my stuff in order. As I've mentioned before, the fact that I struggle to plan stories bothers me. I'm a planner. I like planning for things and I feel much happier if I know I'm prepared. I enjoy planning so much that sometimes I plan things I've no intention of actually doing. But I can't plan a story. Maybe it comes from a totally different place in my brain. However, writing by the seat of my pants leaves me with a pile of material that is overwhelming and then I don't know where to go next.
So yesterday I decided to get myself sorted out and that meant googling a method of plotting. How do you do a plot? What does that look like? No idea. The first link I clicked on was the Snowflake Method, which I had heard of before, and came with quite detailed instructions. I spent the day writing several summaries, first generally and then for each of my three main characters. Clearly articulating in this way really helped and in the course of doing it I discovered what the ending of the novel needs to be.
This is no small matter. From the start I've had no idea how it would end. There have always been options and at some point I narrowed it down to three possible endings. Naturally, the right and perfect ending that I found today is not one of those three options. I feel like lots of things have slid into place today. As added bonuses I have another idea for the title (I find titles so hard to come up with) and I have a good basis for a query letter when the time comes.
The Snowflake Method has been very helpful. I don't think I could do it cold. Yesterday I was able to say what my characters wanted, were motivated by, and what got in their way only because I've spent so much time writing about them. But this hybrid of planning and seat of the pants writing seems to be working itself out. I only hope the next one doesn't take as long.