Take Five: #1: The ending is the beginning

Take Five
Five-minute reads about writing
to help you with NaNoWriMo
Nov. 1 - Nov. 30, 2011
Courtesy: Sasha Soren (Random Magic)

#1: The ending is the beginning

Interestingly, a seemingly nonsensical bit of dialogue in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll) actually makes complete sense:

The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. 'Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?' he asked.
'Begin at the beginning,' the King said gravely, 'and go on till you come to the end: then stop.'

It does seem overly simplistic, but it's solid advice all the same. It's not very efficient to put in a lot of effort into a work if you have no real idea where exactly you're going - in fact, you might never even get there.

So, one of the ways to make your life easier, at least while writing, is to clarify one simple point, in your own mind:

Where are you going?

Or, in speaking specifically about the story you're planning to put on paper:

Who is going where?
Who is trying to accomplish what?

So, there you have your ending already in the beginning:

Who is going where - to accomplish what?

Once you know this, you'll have a much more solid plan from the very beginning, and will be a lot less likely to write yourself into a corner.