ASK AN AUTHOR – SHOULD AUTHORS KNOW A NOVEL'S ENDING BEFOREHAND?

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Answering your questions about writing, publishing, and marketing books

By Sarka-Jonae Miller

June 17, 2016 (San Diego's East County) - Maryann Jordan, author of 17 published books including Sacrifice Love, Gabe, and Love's Taming, is joining us today to talk about an important aspect of the pre-writing stage in a manuscript's development – namely should you already know the ending before you begin? Maryann Jordan is an Amazon and Barnes & Noble best-selling author. Her novel Emma's Home will be included in the upcoming 12-book bundle Finding Love in All the Right Places. The collection is near and dear to my heart as it also will feature one of my novels, Aching for You.

Should an author have the ending of the novel decided before they begin writing? - Travis Norwood, author of Sugar Scars

MJ: There is no wrong or right way for an author to write! Some are panthers and others are plotters. I can't say one is better than the other. While there is no correct way for an author to write, many do like to plot out their book before writing. A planner will have the whole book plotted and outlined, including the ending. Other authors prefer to let the characters speak to them as they write and will tell you that they have no idea how their book will end ahead of time.

SJ: Knowing the ending before you begin can be crucial to many authors but is not necessary. It depends on your writing style. I recommend that new authors start out with their endings decided if only to keep them from getting lost, or if they do get lost along the way at least they'll have a beacon of light. One can always tighten up the middle part of a book that goes astray, but it's much harder to force a satisfying ending when none of the book up to that point supports it. 

What Maryann said about authors letting one's characters speak to them as they go is a valid method. Oftentimes authors who allow their stories to naturally unfold this way can do themselves a disservice by clinging to an ending that contradicts with how their story is evolving. Perhaps the ideal compromise is to decide upon an ending before you start writing but hold no attachment to it if a better ending occurs naturally.

Until you write a book, you won't know what method is best for you. However, if you do have an ending in mind there isn't much of a downside as long as you're willing to be open-minded and risk having to do significant rewrites if you allow yourself to write a different ending and realize your original was better. But isn't that worth it? It's better than never finishing a book because you can't figure out how it should end. 

 

SJ: Where do you get the inspiration for your novels, Maryann?

MJ: Inspiration for me comes from two distinct places. One comes from my first career as an adolescent counselor. My books are full of realistic dialogue, situations, emotions, and characters. The other inspiration comes from the news. My books are romantic suspense and I gain idea from the news (fact is stranger than fiction!)

SJ: Who is your favorite hero from one of your books and why?

MJ: I write strong alpha men who are sweet--in fact, my tagline is Sweet Meets Steamy and happily ever afters always steal your heart! While my heroes are all different, they have similar qualities, so I will choose those. My heroes know that true love exists and are willing to take a chance on it when they meet the right one. They are not afraid to show their emotions. They are not afraid to say, "I love you." They will protect their heroine...not because they think the "little woman can't help herself" but because of their love, they would live and breathe and die to protect that love.

SJ: What's the best piece of advice you've received for your writing career?

MJ: The best piece of advice is to Write the Next Book! The authors who have made it big will tell you that the marketing is important, the groups and advertising are important, you have to spend money to make money....but they all say the most important thing is to write the next book!

Got Questions?

Send them to Sarka-Jonae Miller through Twitter @sarkajonae, Facebook, or via her author website. Additionally, live events can be found on SJ's events page.

About Sarka-Jonae Miller

SJ is a local author, book marketing manager, publicist, and columnist who writes chick lit and steamy romance based in San Diego and Los Angeles. Her novels include the Between Boyfriends series and the All for You series. SJ also writes health and fitness articles for Align Life and Natural News.

Check out her Between Boyfriends blog for book reviews, author interviews, TV episode synopses, and giveaways. Follow @sarkajonae and @sjpublicity9 on Twitter for more writing tips, book recommendations, and industry news. Get health and exercise articles from @sjnews9.