In Steven Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he states: “Begin with the end in mind.”
For first-time novelists, this is helpful advice. But let’s clarify. When we talk about “the end,” rather than thinking about the plot, let’s consider our characters and in particular our protagonist. How is she relating differently to other characters? What has she come to understand as a result of this journey?
Character suggests plot, and for writers, I believe this is crucial.
It’s easy to get stuck in our idea of how the story should go. When we drop our idea, we become open to surprises. It’s not that our idea was incorrect, it’s just that it was incomplete.
First-time novelists tend to want to figure it all out. By having a sense of your ending, your subconscious is free to fill in the blanks and write to that place.
The story may change. It may go in all sorts of directions that we hadn’t considered. Part of the thrill of being a first-time novelist is that we have not yet imposed any rules on ourselves.