|Our old tree before it was cut down :-(.|
I was sitting at my favorite table Thursday afternoon - getting some work done and as usual, obsessing over the path my novel is taking. As I round the corner to the final pages of my novel, I am struggling to find an ending. I popped open the 2013 Novel and Short Story Market and came across an article called, Ten Writing Pitfalls: And How to Beat Them by I.J. Schecter. I won't exhaust you with details because I think if you're a writer you should buy the book (and I'm pretty sure I could get sued) but I found one pitfall interesting. It discussed finding an ending. Schecter noted that often times while struggling to find an ending, writers often miss the fact that their book could have ended pages ago. This advice is not new to me - on one of my first days in my novel writing workshop, I asked my instructor why I kept reaching a point where I couldn't write. "What's wrong with me!?" I exclaimed amongst strangers on a late September evening.
First she said - are other things going on? Yes, I thought. I have a two year old and a five year old and a day job and a husband and a mortgage and bills...
"Not really," I lied.
Then, she said, "Maybe your novel is finished already? Maybe the story is in the part you have written."
DING, DING, DING.
I remember finding truth in her words when she said it but in the last few weeks, I think I may have lost sight of just how true they were.
I have 59, 257 words that I love dearly - but that last thousand or so may just be my attempts to wrap things up. I realized the things I have written recently don't feel genuine to me. I think that may be because I am trying to wrap my protagonist's life up in a neat bow when 1) that just isn't going to happen and 2) I think the novel ended about a chapter ago. There are parts of the novel that I miss and that I desperately want to develop but I keep telling myself it would just pull him back and not get him to where he needs to be. Maybe my protagonist will never be where he needs to be? Maybe he needs to be pulled back? Maybe that's just how life is?
Well, in any event, I can't wait to let my new perspective loose on my manuscript (right now I am blogging/cooking dinner but my manuscript is peeking at me in my toolbar... such a flirt, that manuscript). I may not meet my deadline of being done before the end of the year but I think 2013 will definitely see the completion of something I can truly be proud of!
By the way, you can buy The 2013 Novel and Short Story Market here.
Love & Light,