A real example of how I work out complicated plots and decide how to handle complex endings
This is today's actual working outline for the end of Winter Break
I’m almost reluctant to share this because it’s so intimate to my work: an outline I worked up just today, for my own private use, for the ending of my book Winter Break.
I’m almost reluctant, but I’ll share it anyway. It’s too interesting, for fans of my work and those curious about my process, not to share. (Besides, this only goes out to my Badass Unicorn members … and I trust my Unicorns!)
What I’m sharing here is the unedited outline for the end of Winter Break. I haven’t cleaned it up for sharing, so that if there’s something here you don’t understand, it’s probably because I’m speaking my own language rather than trying to be understood in anyone else’s.
Also note that what’s below is OBVIOUSLY NOTHING BUT SPOILERS. You WILL have the ending of Winter Break spoiled if you read this, and Winter Break isn’t even out yet. I’m sharing it despite that because it’s such a good example of how exactly I do what I do and I think people will be interested in how it’s done. Read on at your own risk.
Also keep in mind: This outline only covers the final act of the story. That means that by the time readers get to this part of the book, they’ll understand what’s going on. You won’t have that advantage if you just read the outline, but I think you’ll see how it works anyway. I’ve already written the prose that comes before this, and only moved to outline today so I’d be able to make the ending make sense. It’s a tricky story, so without some advance planning, I’d absolutely botch the details.
I started this partial-book outline by deciding on several reveals that needed to happen as the story finishes up, then putting them in what I felt was the best order for the most exciting and interesting story. The timeline for this story jumps all over the place Tarantino style, so I was able to put those reveals in whatever order I wanted regardless of their in the master timeline.
Once I had the reveals in place, I had to build narrative around them starting where I was in the prose. Oh, and here’s where I was (AGAIN, SPOILERS COMING) in the prose: