Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Knowing the way to the end

Freaking cool story by Ben Montgomery of the St. Petersburg Times on a diver who went missing in a deep and dangerous cave, the people who looked for him, and what happened ... and what didn't happen.

The ending knocked my socks off, and it made me think of two things:

One, he didn't suddenly discover that ending as he wrote the last few grafs of the story.

Two, he didn't just tack on the ending when he felt like he was about near the end of the story.

I'm betting he knew where he was going from the start, and wrote with that destination in mind the whole way. And that's why it's such a great ending -- it's a nifty line or three, to be sure, but its power derives from everything that comes before it, everything that he reported, how he prepared/organized the story, and every choice he made as he wrote it.