Starting a story at the back end is a fad in novels right now. Some authors like it because they can keep all their cards hidden until the last chapter, where they flash them in a shower of color and go out in a blaze of glory.

Writing a story from the back assumes a lot of your reader. It assumes that you are a good enough writer that your reader won’t mind being kept in the dark. It assumes that you have a plan, and that you’re not just stringing your reader along until you come up with something. It assumes you won’t hold their ignorance over the heads of your readers. It assumes that you can create enough suspense in the first ten pages of your novel to draw them back, even though you’re carefully keeping them from intentional connection.

Writing a story from the back makes a reader feel ignorant. It’s a dangerous game. People who read on their own time aren’t obligated to keep picking your book up—it’s even less likely that they will if it feels belittling.

Plan carefully before you write a story that leaves your reader in the dark. If you do, be sure to give them little secrets to string them along and make them feel like part of the process.

They’ll appreciate you more—and tell other people about you.


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