I am moving forward with the next step of outlining my new novel. First, however, I just want to comment on the naming of one of my characters. A dear friend and wonderful writer, Priscilla, pointed out to me that Walker's last name, Conrad, rang reminiscent of Joseph Conrad the author of HEART OF DARKNESS. I hadn't thought of that, and was quite grateful for the insight. I definitely do not want readers associating Walker with Joseph Conrad. That's akin to having him named after Thomas Nelson Page! She also pointed out that Jacobs as a last name for Walker was not only appropriate on an ethnic level, but also on a character level. It sounded perfect to her, as it initially did for me. I had changed it thinking of the name in a biblical sense and having a strong Jewish relationship. However, she graciously told me that the name crossed ethnic lines and was fitting for black Americans as well. So my young man has returned to being named Walker Jacobs. I'm glad and so is Walker :)
So, moving ahead. I have my plot sentence and my characters named and outlined. Now I want to draft my ending. Yes, that's right. Before I even start writing my story, I must outline the ending. Writers approach a novel in different ways. Some do as I am doing and outline everything before we begin. Others begin and let the story "tell" them where to go. There is no right approach, although from experience, I can say not knowing where the story is going to lead often makes for frustrating writing sessions and even that horrible little devil, writer's block! Having an ending before I begin gives me somewhere to go. That doesn't mean I won't change the ending if the novel leads me in another direction, but, trust me, it works to have it outlined in advance.
I remember reading a horror novel by one of my favorite authors and anticipating a great conclusion only to have it end with a giant spider. Sounds creepy, but it was really anticlimactic. I felt in my gut that the ending came because he couldn't figure any other way out. No one wants their readers to feel that way, especially when you have invested so much sweat, time and tears into your project.
So, I am off to outline my ending, which, of course, I am NOT going to post here! I shall return when I reach the next phase of writing my novel. Until then, happy writing!