Everything I’ve written I’ve written backwards. Well sort of. It’s probably more accurate to say that I knew where I wanted to end up and I wrote a draft that was god-awful in order to get there. When I arrived at the end I turned around and rewrote the entire thing. This was especially true when I wrote my novel because at its center is a murder mystery, so much of what happens in the story is a clue or a red herring. In fact when I wrote the end – knowing all along that I wanted to get there – I discovered that the killer was another character in the book. I realize that it’s not a science and that every writer is different, but for me it’s “the getting there” that organically informs the narrative and this necessary part of the process.
I heard Gillian Flynn talk about her novel Sharp Objects – she said the killer wasn’t even in her first draft of the manuscript and it wasn’t until she got to the end that she realized this.
For me, I rather like plodding through the manuscript or script regardless of the fact that most of it will end up in the trashcan. Time consuming as it may be, this is how I get to know my characters and the world in which they live.