I’m approaching the finish line on my fifth novel, as I’m sure you’ve heard me whine about, I mean, mention, a lot lately. You’ve also heard me whine about the slogging that I am going through to get the story told. (Today came in just under 2k, which makes me very happy!)
When I look back at my previous novels, I see a similar pattern. I start off well, and manage fine through the middle (except for the first novel, which didn’t have a plan and didn’t fare very well through ANY of the stages), but get bogged down with endings. I’ve been trying to figure out why that is, now that I’ve seen a trend. It is, after all, a trend I’d prefer to skip in the future.
So why is it? I have an outline of sorts, so I have a reasonably good idea what needs to happen. The outline is not so detailed that all the fun is gone. Is it that I am reluctant to part with these characters? Or sad to put them through the rest of the nasty stuff I have planned for them? Maybe. But I think it’s that I’m afraid I’m losing some of the balls I’ve been juggling, that the ending can’t tie everything up and give the reader that satisfied *ah* on the last page. I’m afraid I’ll miss something. Or that two parts of the ending that need to be, will turn out to be mutually exclusive. Or something. I know that can be fixed in revision, but wouldn’t it be better to not have to fix fundamental flaws in revision?
Your turn, if you’ve completed one or more first drafts. What area of the writing bogs YOU down? And have you figured out what to do about it?
I have issues with the first line and last scenes. I constantly change them right up to the very end.
I bog down in the middle. I don’t know any way to get around except to slog on through. One thing I did, though, was sort of skip the place where I was bogged down and move on. I made a note to myself to remind me what needed to happen there, but then I just picked up the next chapter and kept writing. Later I came back and was able to fill in better.
I think it’s easy to get stuck and think you have to do things in a certain order, but they don’t film movies in the right order. They do have an outline, as do I. So if I write a few odd scenes out of order I can organize it later. Sometimes it helps to think outside the outline, so to speak.
Valerie Comer says
That’s interesting, Linda. And of course that IS how the movie guys do it. I do write pretty linearly, though. (Is that a word?) The most liberty I’ve taken was *insert fight scene here* and carried on!
What bogs me down? At the moment, revisions. Sometimes, I take a long break after NaNo (but starting up again when I’m ready to hasn’t been a problem yet).
So far, I’ve used NaNo to get the novel started and subsequent months to finish writing. The initial read through goes well on revisions, but identifying serious things I need to fix has been a challenge. I’m making slow progress there. Maybe getting through the complete process once will make it easier for future efforts.
Valerie Comer says
I shudder at the thought of revisions, Jean. Just about ready to start on the backlog. It scares me.
Katie Hart says
Definitely middles. I only follow a very sketchy outline with my novels, and though I usually know how I want the book to end, getting there is the problem. But figuring out the middle provides lots of details for the end, so by the time I get to the big climax scenes, I write for days, letting it all pour out.