Ending First – A New Writing Strategy

In the past few months, I have been trying to make the transition from flash fiction and small collaborative stories (such as Ficlets) to short stories and have been having some problems. I think I’m pretty good at leaving a story hanging for another writer to complete or writing a couple hundred word story, but I’m having troubles finishing off my short stories.

I have story beginnings down pretty well. I’m able (I hope) to write the beginning of a story in a way that makes the reader want to keep reading. At some point, however, my stories seem to be stalling: usually ending up in a group of characters standing around saying things like, “uh huh”, and “yep” like the characters in the cartoon King of the Hill. The good news is that I have a solution to my problem: write the ending first.

I have read a few books on writing and several articles by writers I respect and a lot of times they talk about knowing the ending of the story before they start, or even writing the ending of the story before they start writing the rest of the story. This makes a lot of sense to me, and I think I’m going to try it.  Now, I’m not saying this ending should be set in stone or anything. If I wind up progressing through the story and the ending no longer makes sense, I think it would be fine to tweak or even change it. However, it does give me a target and direction to shoot for.

What do you think?