But I still had no idea how to get to that ending from my current state. I kept writing anyway.
Then, one day, I had a dream.
I’m no hippie, but I do believe that the unconscious mind wants to help you out and sends up dreams to help your waking mind access insights that’d otherwise remain buried. Also, I rarely dream about my own characters. I can count the number of times they’ve shown up on one hand–and they’re usually cameo appearances. So when I had this full-length dream that was nothing but my own characters, I took notice.
Instead of rolling over and forgetting the dream, I dragged my dream binder out from under my bed and jotted down the dream as best I remembered it. (Then I went back to sleep.)
When I got up in the morning, I re-read the dream. The strangest thing was that this newcomer character had the starring role in the dream–but he seemed to be taking the place of my protagonist! Though he looked like himself, the other characters treated him like my lead. And the way he reacted to the different places he traveled to sounded like my lead character talking. In the end, this character actually met my protagonist in-dream, and he was acting differently! That was an interesting conversation!
I thought about it a while, then realized: if I, in my novel, had my protagonist do the things and have the reactions I saw the newcomer have in this dream, there was a pattern here which, applied to the novel, could get me to the ending. Not only that, but it something I’d never thought of before–in fact, it was the exact opposite route I was planning on taking. But the more I reviewed the dream, the more I realized–yes, this could work!
So that’s the path I’m at now. After reaching the end of my last map, I have suddenly been handed a second, and it looks like I know the way to the end! Hallelujah.
“Name the greatest of all inventors. Accident.” –Mark Twain