Thank you for your reply. I am not sure, however, what to make of it.
JLB: I never see more than two or three scenes ahead in a book. I've always felt that art, at least for me, is more a matter of incremental discovery rather than creation.
One of the most common pieces of advice to wannabe writers, from authors and workshops and Writer's Digest tomes is: "Envision and write the ending FIRST". This is like putting the tall flag in the hole for the golf ball. The ending should define the principal challenge for both the writer and the character(s) who have either succeeded or failed to overcome adversity. It should enable story closure for the reader and, it is to be hoped, a sense of satisfaction. Perhaps this process becomes less important as a writer gains in experience, and especially with recurring characters.
I recall one of the first books by Jeffrey Deaver. Some three quarters through the book the eventual death of a character became imminent, a gone conclusion. The text was a peregrine falcon diving at 250 mph towards this event. But the final chapter turned into a deus ex machina. Further,it was written in a literary style detectably different from the rest of the book. My impression was that some editor saw a loss of economic value with the author's ending, and exercised some contract authority. That circumstance seriously put me off Deaver. It was ten years before I tried him again.
Another interesting author-reader matter is the =suspension of disbelief=. For me the two issues are "how much" and "when". Show me a book about Nazi Germany where the fuhrer is Brunhilda Heitler and I'll shoot myself before being forced to read it. Second, the need for a reader to suspend disbelief should be as front loaded as possible. Once upon a time a neighbor in an apartment came nervously knocking upon my door. "I heard a loud crash against our shared wall," she said. I apologized and told her I had gotten 3/4 through a lengthy book when the author expected me to suspend disbelief. I had thrown the heavy book against the damn wall. "Ha, ha, I am NOT a nun," the man says to the bus driver (to borrow an old dirty joke).