I *am* still making progress on my Nano novel currently (and affectionately!) known as The Girl Who Cried Squid.
You’d think that after six first drafts (Squid is my seventh) I’d have figured out some of my habits already. Noteably, that although I cannot work without an outline, my endings rarely resembe the ending the outline calls for. I’m thinking that as the characters come to life during the writing of the draft and peel themselves up off the page (in my dreams at least)–begin walking and talking on their own–and subplots grow and begin to flower like well-watered seeds, the original ending just doesn’t encompass enough of the story to end any of it.
It’s like creating a rope with several strong pieces of yarn and a dozen pretty and fun embellishments woven throughout, and then just tying two parts of the main yarn together and calling the rope finished. Not so. All the pieces need to be woven and tied up together at the end. When I’m writing the outline, I have a fair idea what the main yarn will look like and I may have gotten a glimpse or two of some fun ribbons and threads, but I really don’t know all the parts I’m working with until I get there.
That’s when I look at the planned ending and wonder who wrote this junk. Now I still think it’s important for me to outline an ending. After all, the story does need a direction in which to go. However, I should stop being shocked when I hit a brick wall 10K from the end and realize it is time to analyze those yarns, ribbons, threads, laces–whatever all has been created and looped together–and look for new and more satisfying ways of weaving them together for those last bits.
So I’ve been doing the analyzing and creeping forward, bit by bit. I still hope to hit The End this week. The culmination will be much better for the slowed pace and will hopefully require less revising than if I’d shoved through with the original plan. In my dreams.