I recall a friend who always read the last page of a book before turning to the first page and reading it. I always thought it an odd thing to do – knowing the ending before the beginning.
“I’m glad you can’t do that with a movie,” I told her. These were the days before video players invaded our homes.
I often think back about how that friend read books, more so since I became a blogger and started to write and publish my thoughts onto a tiny piece of the web. Although I’ve had a passion for writing since I can remember, being dyslexic often stopped me from pursuing my dreams of writing a book and getting it published.
February the 12th, 2014 was the day I began the next battle with dyslexia. For far too long, I’d allowed it to win without putting up much of a fight. However, on that February day, quite by chance, I’d discovered the world of blogging. And reading the last page first was about to make a lot more sense to me.
For the first few hours that day, I tried convincing myself that there was no such thing as dyslexic authors. Although I loved writing, I often regarded words as an enemy. Some of them would trick me, while others would confuse me and send me off into a maze that had no exits. So why would anyone with dyslexia want to write?
Before writing my first post, I stumbled upon a blog about a subject I loved – The cult TV show ‘The Twilight Zone.’
The creator, and writer of many of the 156 episodes of the show was Rod Serling, and I always looked forward to how he took you on a journey up a path you thought you knew, only to find that the twist he had planned took you to a completely different location. Although the clues of what was to come were there, he’d manage to trick you into thinking something else was going to happen.
I saw Rod Serling as some of those words that often tricked me when reading. But I also saw him as a ‘writing’ hero and somebody I would go on to admire for the gift he had of deceiving the reader. Whenever I watched one of the episodes he’d written, I was always gobsmacked at how he’d trick me into thinking I knew what was going to happen at the end.
It wasn’t long before I tried my hand at writing a few short stories. Like Serling’s stories, they take the reader on a familiar journey to a destination they think they know, but end up taking them somewhere, they never thought existed. As I wrote more and more of these stories, I soon discovered a form of writing where being dyslexic didn’t seem to matter.
However, just as Serling added twists towards the end of his stories and screenplays, I soon found myself comparing myself to the friend who read the last page of a book first. Instead of starting at the beginning of a story, I found myself writing twisted endings first and working backwards to the beginning. Now I find myself doing it all the time.
When I now think back of that friend who read the last page of a book first, I compare her to Rod Serling. Like Serling, she became a hero of mine because I believe she planted the first seeds of ‘endings first’ into my creative, dyslexic mind.
Where do you start when reading a book or writing a piece of fiction or non-fiction? At the beginning, end, or somewhere in-between?
Copyright © 2021 Hugh W. Roberts – All rights reserved.
Hugh W. Roberts lives in Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom.
Hugh gets his inspiration for writing from various avenues including writing prompts, photos, eavesdropping and while out walking his dogs, Although he was born in Wales, he has lived around various parts of the United Kingdom, including London where he lived and worked for 27 years.
Hugh suffers from a mild form of dyslexia but, after discovering blogging, decided not to allow the condition to stop his passion for writing. Since creating his blog ‘Hugh’s Views & News’ in February 2014, he has built up a strong following and now writes every day. Always keen to promote other bloggers, authors and writers, Hugh enjoys the interaction blogging brings and has built up a group of online friends.
His short stories have become well known for the unexpected twists they contain. One of the best compliments a reader can give Hugh is “I never saw that ending coming.”
Having published his first book of short stories, Glimpses, in December 2016, his second collection of short stories, More Glimpses, was released in March 2019.
A keen photographer, he also enjoys cycling, walking, reading, watching television, and enjoys relaxing with a glass of red wine and sweet popcorn.
Hugh shares his life with John, his civil-partner, and Toby and Austin, their Cardigan Welsh Corgis.
You can follow Hugh’s blog at Hugh’s Views And News.
I often joke about the fact that I was born butt first and have been doing everything backwards ever since.
It helps to have a text reader with dyslexia, and I have a Library for the Blind and Dyslexic recorder, but I’ve found that many times when I ask for a book nothing is sent to me. It’s quite frustrating.
I used Cyber Buddy text reader for long articles on the internet.
My books start out as dreams. All of them. For the first series, I wrote the last book first, then wrote the middle books before finding the first in the series. 🙂
That is so interesting to hear how you wrote that series of books. I thought I was the only one that wrote the end first and worked back (or is it front?) to the beginning. I’m pleased you’ve proved me wrong.
When it comes to reading blog posts, my dyslexia doesn’t seem to play a major part. But put a book in front of me, and I often end up in that maze I wrote about in this post.
My sister said that if I had one small shelf of books, I’d have reading material for life. I don’t remember what I read, but if it’s read to me it’s remembered better. Do you have any issues with remembering what you read?
It depends on what I am reading, but usually, yes, I have difficulty remembering what I’ve read. For example, when I find a book I can read easily, I often have to keep turning back because I can’t remember who a character is. When I am watching a TV show or movie, I don’t have any problems remembering what happened or who people are. I find TV shows like The Twilight Zone very easy to follow, probably because each episode is around 30 minutes long.
A great upbeating posting, and Hugh’s writing is also wonderful. Michael
Thank you very much, Michael. Now I have my first blog post under my belt here on the Ranch, I’m eager to write more.
Thank you in advance, Hugh! Love it very much!
what a great post and an inspiration for all. I’m a huge rod Serling fan and that was a bonus )
Thank you. It’s great to meet another Rod Serling fan, Beth. Thanks so much for reading the post and leaving a comment.
I am occasionally put off by a cover if it is too lewd or overtly bloody. Mostly I am a cover reader, the shout line on the front, then the blurb o the back, that is what grabs me or looses me, then I read every single word in order. If the book like … Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s tale did, grabs me and makes me gasp, I re-read it all to work out what was done to produce my reaction, how the writer made me look as if I were right next to the character. Sorry a bit long winded but it evokes an excitement I hope one day to reproduce in my work. X
It’s great to hear the thoughts from a reader’s perspective when looking for something to read. Like the label on a wine bottle, I’ll pick up a book if the cover appeals to me (although the title also plays a big part for me.).
I can’t ever imagine myself reading something like ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ I’m sure my dyslexic mind would have me in a maze after the first page. I’m pleased that Rod Serling wrote screenplays. Had he not, I probably would never have encountered his writing.
Dystopian writing has never appealed to me but the time is set so close to now, that it seamlessly slipped me into a familiar, though extreme world. Try the Netflix series, I think you may be hooked after the first two. Screen plays are a great vehicle that is for sure. X
I’ll certainly check it out because I seem to get more enjoyment out of watching TV than I do reading books. Unlike reading books, my dyslexia does not play up as much when watching TV. I seem to be able to make a lot more sense of what’s going on when watching it unfold on a big screen.
I can sympathise. I’ve been dealing with dyslexia all my life. Sometimes I find it very frustrating, especially when I have the ideas in my head, but issues with trying to write it down…
Dyslexia often plays tricks with my writing, but usually with making silly mistakes. For example, in one of my recent 99-word flash fiction stories, it took me days to realise I had spelt ‘Kingdom’ as ‘Kingdon.’ I also have problems with missing words. No matter how many time I read back what I’ve written, some words appear there even though they’re not.
For me, my issues are with reading. It doesn’t happen with all books (or blog posts I read), but after the first few paragraphs, my mind can often get frustrated with not making sense of what I’m reading.
We pretty much have the same issues. Missing words are so annoying. I’ve found it helpful read aloud everything I write before I post it on WordPress and yes the odd missing word still gets through as well. I’m a good speller, but I will often will write the letters in the wrong order.
I can end up reading the same paragraph of someone else’s writing innumerable times trying to make sense of it…
Your last sentence made me laugh because you were describing how I react, Joanne.
I am hopeless at spelling. However, like you, there are certain words I write or type where individual letters always end up in the wrong position. The word ‘because’ is one example. For some strange reason, I also write or type ‘beacause’ when writing that word.
Some days seem worse than others. A few days ago I was trying to write a story and virtually every word I was writing was mangled and I almost gave up.
When that happens to me, I walk away from the screen and keyboard, go for a walk, watch TV or phone a friend for a chat. When I come back, it usually works, although I often sleep on it and come back to it successfully the following morning. I’m a morning person and am more creative in the mornings I(when I do most of my writing). Now you got me wondering if other people with dyslexia are the same?
Hugh, I love your creative flash fiction stories. I’m always amazed at your endings. The best part of this is that you took something that hindered you and made it into a positive one! The Twilight Zone is so great for inspiration. In today’s fast-paced world, those quick glimpses into human nature inspire our flash fiction to new levels. Well done! <3
Thank you, Colleen. If it were not for blogging (and all the support and encouragement I got from other writers and bloggers), I would never have overcome the hurdle I jumped when I started to blog. I’ve also a lot to thank Mr Serling for, and mustn’t forget that friend who always read the last page of a book first.
I think you paid homage to your friend in a wonderful way. Do you ever think back to how we all started blogging? Look how far we’ve all come. In April, it will be seven years for me. I’ve learned so much and can’t wait to learn more. I’m glad for our community. It’s an amazing support system. <3
I’ve just passed my 7th anniversary of blogging Colleen. At the time, WordPress used to run an online course where students met online at the same time. It was a fantastic way to meet other bloggers. These days, you can do the course as and when you like. Unfortunately, only a few of those people in the class with me still blog, but I’ve gone on to encounter many other fabulous bloggers and writers over the last 7 years.
Hugh… didn’t I meet you in that class? I thought we took the poetry class together, as well.
I never did the poetry one, Colleen. I did the Blogging 101 course in April 2014. From memory, I think somebody introduced me to your blog, but I can’t remember who it was. Nevertheless, I’m delighted they introduced me to your blog.
I joined WP then, and I think we took that class together. I was so thrilled to connect with you because you were British, and I’d been stationed there in the 1980’s. I’m just happy we connected. <3
Your memory serves you better than mine does then, Colleen. There aren’t many of us left who are still blogging from that class of April 2014.
That’s what I thought. How interesting, Hugh. ❤️
I read somewhere about a study that showed that knowing the end of a film actually added to the pleasure rather than detracted from it as much of the unknown can actually detract from the storytelling. Go figure eh…
I’m not sure I like the idea of knowing how a movie is going to end (unless I’ve watched it before). But I see your point. When I have rewatched movies, I’ve been able to put storylines together a lot easier.
Thanks for the link to the article. It’s an interesting read. However, when it comes to ‘The Twilight Zone,’ I definitely do not want to know each episode’s ending before watching them for the first time. However, I do have episodes that I watch over and over again.
Ha yeah good point!!
Yeah think that’s the idea. Maybe that’s why people enjoy Re watching movies
I don’t think we’ve met in person, but I read the last page (or at least the last paragraph), too. It’s not to find out the ending (I don’t like spoilers). It’s more to see if by reading the ending I can figure out the whole book. I prefer when the endings are vague and not 100% related to the main plot. A book is not worth buying for me if I read the ending and that’s enough.
However, your post nicely illustrates that it’s not only about the destination but the journey.
It’s good to hear that it’s not only the friend I mentioned in this post that first reads the last page. Somebody else said that they had heard that knowing the ending of a movie enables you to make more sense of the story. So maybe there is something in it?
The journey an author takes us on is probably more important than the ending. After all, If we don’t complete that journey, how will we know what the end is?
I have always enjoyed The Twilight Zone – I think we are all differently-able.
I enjoy reading murder mysteries. Some are serious and others more ‘Fluff’ under 250 page entertainments. I enjoy being ‘fooled’. The clues aren’t always there for you to figure out. I just finished a small ‘fluff’ mystery where one of the main characters had a complete 180 that I don’t think anyone could have seen.
Since I am primarily a poet… and write smaller pieces I don’t tend to edit all that much. I tend to do more ‘editing’ when I have to count syllables 🙂
Thanks for a very interesting read, and continued success!
Thank you for reading and leaving a comment on my first guest post here at the Ranch, Jules.
I can sometimes struggle with reading short fiction. I think it’s more to do with the way an author writes. Some authors I have no problem reading their work, but I struggle terribly with reading the works of others. My dyslexia also means I find it very difficult reading fiction when written in a particular accent. For example, I struggle with reading the Kid and Pal posts, which is such a shame because they sound like real fun.
Sometimes it is hard to understand folk even when there isn’t an accent so-to-speak. We lived in the Mid-west for a bit and when ever any one asked for a pin… we had to ask do you want something to write with or a safety pin. Other examples are word that mean the same thing but are called different names in different regions; like sack and (paper) bag, or soda and pop. I’m sure too American English is different than your English 😉
And then there’s that whole bit about adding an extra ‘u’ to different words.
We will manage as best we can. And with the support of our friends, family and writing community we will conquer all that we need 😀
Yes, it’s the same here in the UK. Certain words can mean different things. I’m usually Okay when I hear those words, but I can have real problems with them when they are written down.
I am just impressed that you persevere – My father (had) and one son has some Dyslexia issues. As we keep doing the thing we enjoy we can only hope it becomes easier 😀
I will have to visit your place more often as I like twisty ending stories 😀
Many of my short stories are taken from the prompts Charli publishes, but there are some stories on my blog from other prompts too.
I’d be delighted to gift you a Kindle copy of my first collection of short stories, Glimpses, Jules. Just let me know, and I’ll arrange it.
I have an e reader, but I’m not sure if it is a Kindle. It was a gift and I have a hard time getting into it. I’m technically challenged that way. 🙂
I’ll see about visiting your place to see where your contact page is and send you my email… if that helps.
Perfect, Jules. You’ll find the ‘Contact Hugh’ button on the menubar of my blog.
Oh… I just did that. And visited one of your posts – interesting how coincidences’ work. 😀
What a great post. I didn’t know people with dyslexia also had trouble understanding. I thought it was only a sight thing. Now I know.
I am drawn by the cover first, then the back blurb of a book. Usually, about halfway through it, I read the last few pages, then go back to where I was to finish wanting to find out how the author got to the ending. So often the characters in the ending are different except for the main one, so it’s fun to find out how the new characters are introduced.
I have a drawer novel that as I was writing, I completely changed the ending I had planned. Charli would say I let the characters take over. Perhaps that’s true, but I came to think I had enough story left to write a sequel. Maybe one day…
Thanks for joining the rotation of guest essayists at the Ranch. And I too enjoyed the Twilight Zone. I like shows that make me think.
Thank you, Sue.
Understanding what certain words mean is also a problem for me. And even if I find out what a word means, I often have the same problem if I come across the same word again. When words are written with an accent, I have terrible problems understanding what is being said. So if a whole sentence is written with those words, I find myself completely lost as to what is being said or what is going on.
On the other hand, I don’t have these problems if watching somebody speak with an accent.
It never crossed my mind that some readers might read the last page of a book when they are halfway through it.
I don’t think I’ve ever changed the ending of one of my stories. It’s the first thing I usually write, but anything else before it can be edited many, many times.
Thank you for the welcome in joining all the other guest columnists here at the Ranch. I’m looking forward to being a part of the team.
Thanks Hugh… I loved this… and this line.
“I soon discovered a form of writing where being dyslexic didn’t seem to matter”.
It’s been a life long struggle for me so and I figure it out but wish I knew about this years ago. 🙏💖
It’s what got the ball rolling for me, Cindy. Once I started writing short stories with a twist, I soon found that other writing forms were also waiting for me. However, I had to draw the line with poetry. I’m hopeless at writing and reading it. I guess we can’t win it all, but I’m so glad I started my journey into the blogging world in February 2014.
That’s really awesome to find a niche that you enjoy. Well, you have done quite wonderful things andit’s great to have your insight! Have a great day! 💖
First of all, Hugh, congratulations on finding ways to manage your dyslexia so you can blog and write. That’s real courage, along with continuing to write in the Queen’s English, rather than Americanese. 🙂 I was also a big fan of Twilight Zone, as well as the various Hitchock TV shows. I find covers usually so misleading or bland that I rarely take any notice of them. I’ve never been a last-page-first reader but it makes some sort of sense to me e.g. Last line: I had now become the first woman to circumnavigate the globe single-handedly.’ As for The Handmaid’s Tale, I’d give it a miss unless you are a big fan of relentless dystopian excoriation of the male gender and life’s too short for that. 😉
Thank you, Doug. I was delighted and very honoured when Charli offered me my own column here at the Ranch. I’m looking forward to being able to connect with you all every quarter, although I’ll also be participating in the 99-word flash fiction challenges.
Thank you for the warning about ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ Like many avid readers who have a ‘TBR’ list, I have a ‘TBW’ (to be watched) list. Generally, if I don’t feel I know what’s going on with the first two episodes, I’ll move on to something else. Sometimes, my dyslexia acts in the same way with TV and movies as it does when I start reading a book.
Writing takes us to places we never thought we could or would venture. I am glad you took that journey, finding your niche along the way, and pushing past dyslexia. Seven years of blogging is commendable, to say the least. Congratulations.
I do not read the back page(s) first. I think I like to be lead down the proverbial garden path in a book. Not knowing until the very end will keep me reading. I do read the synopsis, although it can put me off if too much of the story is divulged. The cover grabs my attention if I am not specifically looking for a particular author.
I am looking forward to reading more of your Blog, and future CRLC articles here at the Carrot Ranch.
Thank you, Ann. When I published my first post in February 2014, I’d never have believed that I’d still be blogging 7 years later. It certainly ignited my passion for writing, but the support and help I also got from the blogging and writing communities also spurred me to continue. And after reading that first post about ‘The Twilight Zone,’ I knew that I wanted to write stories just like Rod Sterling had done.
Thank you for reading my first post here at the Ranch, Ann. I’m looking forward to being a part of the team of writers’ Charli has gathered here.
It’s interesing to read how your dyslexia affects your ability to read and write, Hugh, and how it has contributed to your writing. I didn’t watch a lot of The Twilight Zone, but enjoyed the few I did watch. One that is particularly memorable, that Hub and I often still discuss, is one in which people painted the world (scene) just before the characters stepped into it. It’s a fascinating concept. Just what is real beyond what we can see? I wonder if it was written by Rod Serling. I’m pleased you found a way that helps you compose your intriguing stories. I wish you continued success.
Congratulations on having your own column at the Carrot Ranch. You’ll be a hard act to follow. (I’m up next. 😂)
That’s not an episode I recall, Norah. However, the Twilight Zone’s original series had 156 episodes, some of which I’ve not watched yet. Of those 156 episodes, Sterling wrote 92 of them. The show was brought back to TV in the 1980s, 2000s and again recently in 2018. Serling died in June 1974, but some of the episodes in the 1980s and 2000s may have been based on episodes from the original run.
If I hadn’t read that first blog post I mentioned in this post, I do wonder if I’d have gone on to write short stories with a twist. I was amazed at how Serling tricked me into thinking I knew what ending he had planned for me and the rest of his readers and viewers. It certainly ignited my passion for trying and doing the same. 7 years on, I have two short story collections under my belt. However, participating in prompts such as Charli’s 99-word flash fiction challenge were also major factors in my writing twisted stories.
I’m delighted to have been invited by Charli to have my own column here at the Ranch and become part of the team with all the other writers. I look forward to reading your upcoming post here at the Ranch. I’m sure it will be a hit with readers.
what a wonderful post, Hugh. I always enjoy getting some insight into how a writer does his or her craft.
I too am a fan of the Twilight Zone, but I never thought about it the way you describe it, but it is so true. Now I want to watch a few episodes and see it in action!
Congrats on your success as a writer!
Thanks, Jim. There is so much hidden behind the way writers write. When Charli offered me this column, I’d thought it the perfect place to share some of the details of how I write.
Enjoy your ‘Twilight Zone’ viewing. One day (when I’ve finished watching all 156 episodes from the first 5 seasons), I’ll have to compile a top 10 of my favourite episodes because of the twists they contained.
I look forward to reading more about your writing process.
My son and I started going through the Twilight Zone episodes, but then we took a break; I think we got about halfway through season one…
Even as an avid fan of the show, I have to take breaks from it too. There are 156 episodes from season 1 – 5. I have the boxed set, so dip into them as and when I get the urge.
How nice to have the boxed set; we were watching it on Netflix…
How nice to have it available on Netflix, Jim. When I last looked, it’s not available on Netflix or Amazon Prime in the UK. Hence the boxset (which was a gift from a few years ago).
It is convenient having it on Netflix… It’s funny that its availability would be different in the UK…
Yes, it seems to be the case depending on which country you live in. I had to wait a long time before the availability of The New Twilight Zone (2019) was available to watch in the UK.
how is the New Twilight Zone? I have not watched any episodes…
Not as good as the original, but some of the episodes are good. I’ve still got season 2 to watch.
it would be hard to beat the original…
I sure am glad you sorted things out and learned to manage your dyslexia. (That having been said, books must be read left to right top to bottom front to back beginning to end.) Well, that’s how I do it, but I know there are other means and methods. Sometimes I know an ending of something I’m writing before I know the beginning. And of course teachers “backwards plan” all the time, starting with the desired result.
I’m glad that you shared your story and strategies and I look forward to your future column here at Carrot Ranch!
Thank you. It’s good to hear that other writers also know the endings before they start a story. I’ve even had a go at editing backwards (where you read the last paragraph of a chapter first and work back). I picked up many more mistakes, although I still recommend that every author get their work edited before publishing into a book.
I’m looking forward to being a part of the writing team at the Carrot Ranch. I was delighted to have gotten the invitation from Charli. Now it’s time to work on my next article, ready for publication in May.
Never really got the Twilight Zone vibe. Same with Tales of the Unexpected. I do love your twisty horrors though so if they’re a homage to TZ maybe I should try again. Funny about being put off. My word block was an English teacher who dissed my writing when I was 14 or 15. Convinced me I couldn’t and therefore shouldn’t write fiction. I am glad we both found our ways around the problem. As for reading the ending, I don’t think so.. how did we meet? I joined WP IN 2014 too.
I’m glad you didn’t take any notice of that teacher, Geoff. If the passion for doing something is there, I believe it should be done regardless of who says otherwise.
I think we met when I did my very first Christmas tree-topper charity challenge in 2014. From what I recall, you came over from Sue Vincent’s blog because she’d reblogged my post. The rest, as they say, is history.
[…] delighted to announce that my first post, ‘How Blogging and Rod Serling Helped Me Conquer Dyslexia‘ has now been published on my new column, Diversity with a Twist, over at the Carrot Ranch […]
Hi Hugh, nice to know a little bit more about you! I didn’t know you start your great stories from the ending. It’s interesting, now I realize I do the same for my art pages and cards, I see the ending product in my mind and then I start it. I’m smiling now, I’ve never paid attention to the order. I guess our mind has a way to work backwards.
I think that is how most of our minds work, Elizabeth. Towards the goal, which is often the ending. I never know the beginning of most of the stories I write until I’ve written the ending. Thanks so much for coming over and reading the first post on my column here at the Carrot Ranch.
A great post, Hugh. I really enjoyed it. I start with the endings of my books and stories too. I didn’t do this when I wrote While the Bombs Fell or Through the Nethergate but I did it for A Ghost and His Gold and my recent short stories. I find it works much better for me to be working towards a set ending.
Thank you, Robbie. Many writers think of an ending first, but most don’t write it down until they’ve written most of the story or book. For me, I always write the endings first, then work backwards towards the beginning. So, for me, the beginning of a story is the target I work towards.
That is interesting.
Writing is hard enough as it is Hugh, without having to jump through the mental loops of dyslexia every time you start a project. I imagine it’s like a new skill you have to keep re-learning.
Credit to you, we have all benefited one way or another from your perseverance.
That’s so kind of you to say, thank you, Paul.
As with most things, though, the more I write, the more I defeat my fear of being dyslexic. However, I also had to thank Mr Serling and that childhood friend who planted ‘endings’ first in my mind. Without them, I’d still have been a prisoner.
Thank you for sharing your path to writing in spite of dyslexia, Hugh. I’m glad you discovered the world of blogging when you did, because that world and the rest of it can enjoy your wonderful twisty tales and informative blog posts! And now we know the secret to your twisty endings. Love it, this was exciting to read!
Terri, first of all, thanks so much for reading the first post from my brand new column here at the Carrot Ranch. I’m so pleased you found it an exciting read. That tells me to ensure to put plenty of work into the upcoming three posts I’ll be publishing here during 2021. And thank you for being a fan of my twisty endings. I’ll be working on more of them this year.
Great interview Hugh. Well done for not letting dyslexia get in the way of your dreams. There is another famous author who writes the ending first and works back when writing books; his name escapes me right now.
Thank you. If you remember the name of that author, I’d be interested in knowing who it is.
John Irving – (I think Stephen King mentioned him in an interview) This is an interview with John Irving and he explains it… https://youtu.be/–qMzuJoVOo?t=96
Thank you for sharing the link to the interview. I’m glad there is at least one famous author in the boat with me when writing endings first.
Hugh, funny that I started blogging the same year as you did. My beginning was April 28, 2014. But, I’m not as prolific & successful as you blogging or writing. I publish posts sporadically and I’m finishing the final edits on a first book. I have read the last chapter of a book before the first, a few times. I’ve written the end of my book before starting to write. Then, with the rewriting, changed it. It did help to work forward on the story. You are in good company with other famous, genius dyslectic. A former coauthor was a dyslexic writer. And an awesome storyteller. I kept the words in line for her. Dyslexia can be a gift as you found out through hard work in organizing & learning steps in whatever you do. 📚🎶 Christine
Thank you, Christine. I’ve never thought of dyslexia as a gift, but I have heard that some people with the condition are excellent storytellers. So perhaps what you say is right and, for some, it is a gift.
It’s good to read from some of the comments left here that it’s not a strange habit to read the last page of a book first or write endings first. When I began writing this post, I did wonder if anybody would find what I was saying somewhat strange. But when Rod Serling is also included, I don’t believe anything is strange.
Good luck with your final edits.
Thanks, Hugh. It might be that saying Dyslexia is a gift is looking at it from what dyslexics can do. My friend aced exams in nurse practitioner studies. I struggled to get good grade. She told me she didn’t know where the answers came from— they were just there in her head immediately. Her storytelling was phenomenal. I had so much rich material to work with when she relayed events & experiences she wanted in the book. Some day I’ll finish it for her (she died 3 years ago). It took time for her to learn the computer system or to drive to a specific place. But, once learned, it was never forgotten. I told her many times she had a genius brain and she would laugh. It didn’t feel like genius to her. Thanks for wishing me good luck with final edits. You know what I’m going through. Happy Thursday! 📚🎶 Christine
A really interesting post, Hugh – as always. Great to see you over here 😊
Thank you very much, Esther. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Having a guest column here means I can write out of my safety zone.
Which is always a good thing 😊
This is kind of fun. Thinking backwards is a chore for me But I’m going to have to try it
Laugh in the face of adversity. It gets confused
I’m glad you enjoyed this first post of mine. Thank you so much for reading it and leaving a comment.
Truly my pleasure
With mostly writing non fiction writing is an interesting process because sometimes I start with my conclusion then work backwards to prove my theory.
Other times it starts of with an idea, so somewhere in the middle then I flesh that out – maybe adding a personal story to introduce the theme, then work towards the ending by talking about the lessons learned.
I’ve recently got back into poetry – process I’m following is to have a vague idea what I want the poem to be about, then I a series of lines in no particular order that have a shared theme or rhyme, then I proceed putting in a sensible order that flow, then rewriting moving words and sentences around.
When you look at the mechanics it’s quite beautiful how you can craft them to change the meaning – but here I am getting nerdy about it! 😄
Thanks for sharing your process Hugh, its interesting reading your background and how haven’t let your dyslexia put you off.
Nerdy? Never, James. You’ve expressed it well through your comment. I love the thought of crafting words, putting them together, and them meaning different things to each of us.
I allowed dyslexia to suppress my passion for writing for far too long. When I stumbled upon Blogging, I’m glad I did not move on quickly. It was like finding that light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel. What I found at the other end of the tunnel has been incredible.
Thanks so much for reading my first post here and for leaving a great comment.
Anytime! I’ll add Carrot Ranch to my follows so I can see further posts from yourself and other great writers I’m looking forward to discovering!
Welcome to the Carrot Ranch, James.
Hi Hugh. I loved your story of what inspired and encouraged you to write despite your insecurity about writing with dyslexia. I don’t think anyone’s passions should be let go of because of a disability. Look at some of the stars in the para-olympics. 🙂 And look how Rod has inspired you with the kinds of stories people have come to know you for – with the final twist at the end. <3
You’re right, Debby. Heaven’s forbid what I’d done if I had not pursued trying out blogging. It’s bought me into lots of contact with many writers who have offered support and encouragement and who have been as much of an inspiration to me as Rod Serling is. And I’m glad that the twists Rod Serling taught me have become a brand of my writing. I’m very proud of that. Thank you.
As you should be! <3
That’s so interesting that you write the end first. Maybe I should try that! I always find beginnings so hard to write, especially in longer pieces of writing, but endings come to me more naturally! My hubby, and youngest daughter are all dyslexic, often the most creative people are, Hugh. Well done to you for all you’ve achieved and for this column at Carrot Ranch. x
Getting to the beginning of a story is also a challenge for me, Marje. Given that it also has to hook a reader, I can see why it’s as important as an ending. I had no idea that your husband and youngest daughter are also dyslexic. Are they as creative as you? Maybe in different areas such as gardening, baking or painting?
I’m so proud that Charli offered this column to me. It’s put me amongst a group of other writers who I admire. This first post came naturally, but I’m now looking for inspiration for my next three posts. I know, though, that I’ll find plenty of inspiration here at the Ranch.
Yes hubby is a keen guitarist, I could write a story about him! He is never dull! His dad stopped him joining a band and touring abroad when he was 15. He went into the corporate world, has been very successful but regrets not pursuing his dreams. He still plays loud rock guitar at every opportunity. My youngest daughter is a keen photographer, and is good at graphics. We’re all keen on creative pursuits, my eldest is artistic, writes and love books!
I’m so pleased for you that you’ll have an opportunity to share your thoughts via Charli’s wonderful blog. As you say, lots of inspiration at Carrot Ranch. 🙂
Thanks, Marje. You’re a part of a very talented family. Tell hubby that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams.
Aww. Yes, he is thinking along those lines. I hope he gets the opportunity. x
Hi Hugh! Wonderful to read you here at the Ranch, I am on catch up at last. As you know, I am a big fan of your twists and turns 🙂 I had to smile about your friend – Mike does the same! For me, I never read the last page. I made that mistake once and it ruined the entire book. I like to wait for the shock/truth/denouement 🙂
I’m like you, but on the movie front, Sherri. One of the reasons why I enjoy The Twilight Zone so much is because I can’t wait for the twisted ending. Imagine watching it first before starting from the beginning. It just would not be the same.
I was delighted when Charli offered me my own column here at the Ranch. Being amongst other inspirational authors is a real honour.
Exactly…and I do love The Twilight Zone too. I feel the same, Hugh, honoured and thrilled 🙂
Great, thought-provoking post, Hugh!
I wish I could write from an ending to a beginning, but I often don’t have that ability. Mostly I think the writing or the scaffolding underneath it comes to me half-formed in bits and pieces. Sometimes the title is first, sometimes a strong sense of a character, sometimes just bits and pieces of language and sounds that kind of start to accumulate together like a clog in a drain then I can craft something around (or through) the blockage. With my nonfiction writing, it does tend to be more “ending” or message-oriented.
Fellow Rod Serling/TZ fan here as well, and, having read and enjoyed Glimpses, I can definitely see your own unique ways of springboarding off the “eureka!” factor that RS (and short-story writers such as O’Henry–remember him?!) explored, and reinventing it for us modern readers.
Thank you, Leigh. And it pleases me to hear that so many who have left comments are fans of Mr Serling.
Isn’t it great how stories are formed? All those bits and pieces you speak about all coming together like a jigsaw? Crafting those words altogether to bring a story and its characters alive. I like the way you explain it.
And thank you for reading Glimpses. Mr Serling had a big influence on me when I wrote most of the stories in it. I would have loved to have given him a copy to see if any were worthy of an episode in his classic, cult TV show. Who knows? Maybe one day.
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