I am a fan of summer. Mainly because I don’t like being cold. Of course, I live in Texas, so I’ve chosen well. I also like to swim in natural bodies of water and at McKinney Falls, it’s deep enough and big enough, and usually not so crowded, that I can actually swim laps (or more commonly, float and doggy paddle around). Going to a place like this also affords me a good place to contemplate writing. So on this day, the last day of summer, I went to my swimming hole and paddled around for a good hour or so, thinking and trying my best to let go of the stress of the work week.
I was thinking about the ending of my last story. In all honesty, I hate it. But I went ahead and used it to be done with the first draft. This is, of course, ridiculously lame and lazy. I mean, what was I thinking? The good thing is…I can always change it whenever I want. So, I decided I needed to come up with an exercise for the ending.
So, here’s what I am going to do. 1. Brainstorm. This is a pretty obvious move. But I didn’t do it before, so I’m going to do it now. 2. WHEN I brainstorm, the object is going to be…discovering the non-obvious. I need to be true to the characters, but I want a twist. So far, there is no twist. But I don’t want a gimmick. But I am going to USE a gimmick to get to the ending I want. Remember those “choose your own adventure” books from childhood? These were seriously popular in the mid-80s when I was a kid. I LOVED to choose my own adventure. So, for this exercise, 3. I am going to “write out” about six endings. I know this might seem excessive, but what I hope this will allow me to do is to read each ending with these different options, just so I can see what they feel like. And if I can cut it down to three different endings, I will share these with my trusted writing buds so they can have their say. Obviously this is going to be an exercise in writing more than I will ever use, but…it seems necessary. I’ll let you know how it goes.
And, if you need inspiration, may I suggest taking a nice walk out in the world, or going for a nice swim to help you think?