While reading A Peculiar Treasure, the autobiography of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edna Ferber, I came across this passage, which might be worth pondering, whether we’re writing novels or even long short stories:
“I knew exactly where I was going though I was having terrible time getting there. The last page of So Big had been written before the first page was started. This same thing, later, was true of Show Boat and Cimarron. It is usually true of any first-rate piece of work which I do. If that last page writes itself before the first page iswell begun then the story will have inevitability. It may waver in the middle, it may be weaker halfway than at either end. But if the beginning is here and the end inevitably there, then the march between must at least have the soundness and convincing firmness of any traveling thing which knows its destination.”
I’ve never tried this approach myself, but it makes perfect sense as a working strategy. I’d love to hear if you’ve found a similar approach works for you. Write on!