I think some people believe the hardest part of writing a novel (or, come to that a short story) is figuring out what happens.
Well, to be fair I can only speak from my own experience. I generally know what happens, as in, I know the end, and sometimes I know it before I’ve written the first paragraph. I know the events as they unfold, even if I couldn’t write a plot outline to save my life. I even start writing scenes from the end in my head before I’m anywhere near the end. Now, true, I don’t usually know how to get there. Figuring that out is the hard grunt work of actually writing the book.
There’s a point of progress even more crucial than knowing WHAT or HOW. I have to know WHY.
Why is essential . Knowing ‘why’ informs everything I write in the book from there on. More, it explains to me how what I’ve already written fits into the WHY. And if, for some reason, the previous material doesn’t fit into the why, it has to go, and time to start over. Fortunately, for me that rarely happens. It usually seems that my subconscious is smarter than I am and has already figured out WHY and is only waiting for me to catch up. Good thing, too, otherwise I’d write even slower than I do already.
I was reminded of this in a scene I just finished for The Seventh Law of Power. I already knew the How and What. Now I finally know Why.