I want to get better at writing but I often find myself with this problem when trying to create a story. I read a lot of books on writing and as much as I can from gurus. I read The Anatomy of Story by John Truby, and he said something that really stuck out at me, that other writers have not touched on much. He said that when you come up with the premise line, you have to come up with what you think would be the best ending to that premise line, and you have to do it pretty close, so you can build the rest of your story into that. I agree that that seems to make sense, and a lot of stories seem to have that. However, when I have my work criticized by other people, one criticism I often get is that the characters behave illogically in order to get the predetermined ending I want... And that is true, since I came up with the ending first, after coming up with the premise, the ending is already predetermined. This is the paradox, because my characters are not allowed to make the most logical and natural decisions in their quests, if the ending is predetermined. They have to do what it takes to get to that predetermined ending. You could change the characters around to make it so their behavior is more natural but there is only so much you could change about a character before it becomes forced, or before you feel that their depth and themes are compromised within the change, just to have the ending. I also tried taking an opposite writing approach and came up with the best characters I could and gave them everything I wanted, and have them behave in the most naturalistic ways to what they are. I did this without coming up with an ending and just let them play a chess game at each other, without knowing what is going to come. However, I find that doing this approach can lead to an underwhelming or anticlimatic ending. I had this conversation with other aspiring writers, and used Die Hard as a recent example, as to how some of John McClane's actions were illogical and they said that if McClane made the most logical decisions, the movie would be over in 40 minutes. So you see this debate going on even in the professional storytelling world, when it comes to making the reader believe your story, how do you come up with a predetermined ending, but at the same time, build into that ending without having a character plot hole along the way? Is it possible?