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Start at the End

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Nov 21, 2012 6:09:02 AM

When I was a kid and we ate out at a family restaurant, they invariably had a paper placemat with a maze on it. For a kid in those days, eating out was a big deal, and eating out at place with interactive placemats was a monumental deal. You'd sit with a crayon in hand and stare at the maze, realizing that once you chose a path, there was no going back because it's impossible to erase crayon. After numerous missteps, I discovered out of frustration that, for whatever reason, the maze was easier if I tried to solve it backward.

 

It shouldn't have been. The route is the same either way. The twists and turns are merely inverted twins of their forward selves. The degree of difficulty should have been the same either way. I should have failed just as miserably going the "wrong" way as I did going the "right" way.


Looking back on it now, it wasn't that the mazes were difficult; it was the pressure of finding the end of the maze without taking the incorrect route using a permanent writing utensil. Getting to the end was just too daunting. But starting at the end took that pressure away. The path became suddenly clear. It practically popped off the placemat.


I share this trauma and triumph from my childhood to ask this: is it possible you've been approaching that manuscript you can't complete from the wrong direction? Perhaps you shouldn't be writing from beginning to end, but from end to beginning. Or at the very least, you could find the end before you write another page and draw yourself a clear path to the end you've already discovered.


The point is there is more than one way to write a manuscript and successfully complete a maze. If you've tried the conventional way and keep running into roadblocks, switch to unconventional methods. You may find a better path to the end.


-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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