THERE COMES A point where writing a book becomes tricky. Starting is sometimes the difficult part for some, but once a really good idea sticks I find the initial outpouring of ideas into a new story world creates its own momentum blasting into space carrying everything with it. That spell of creativity is the best feeling for me.
Around the half way mark generally writing slows down a little, but the idea usually still has the afterburners on.
The 70-75% mark of the story is reached! Characters have come to life, the plot is pushing, the story world is realised – a solid house from a flimsy studio set – and the writer is safe in the knowledge that the many redrafts to come can improve the writing and strength of the story.
Why is it at that stage of the story, that writing becomes harder? My theory is that the creativity, the spark of origin has burnt out, and a second set of fuel is needed to push through. It is easy for the plot to become slightly convoluted, for characters to have digressed from their intended origins, and more pronounced is the impending finish line, the key resolution to all the hard work. Is it fear of finishing? Fear of the original idea not reaching a satisfying conclusion to match the original vision? Either way, with the story optimistically three-quarters full, I think there is a commonality linking writers at this stage but perhaps I am wrong.
Maybe I can’t quite figure it out. The critical stage going beyond those first two-thirds is an invisible barrier as the juggling act of plot and characters morph from bowling pins into razor-sharp blades. We don’t want to cut our fingers off even if only metaphorical. Finishing anything is the toughest aspect of many things in life; DIY, sports plays, various projects…breakfast. Not so much in terms of discipline just in terms of that final push. And a near finished story is like a house waiting for the rendering and roof tiles to be fitted, a sad sight until completed, but a writer doesn’t have that same public vulnerability of others judging their incomplete creation.
I was hoping to add something inspirational, some nuggets of wisdom for those in a similar position, but there isn’t anything for it but to keep typing. Pausing to review your story is one of the few things I can offer, even if only a recap of key scenes and characters. As a pantser I knew where I was heading, and still do, but the impetus (along with less than ideal circumstances one way or another) began to slow, so after a short reevaluation I’m ready to go again, having been needlessly hampered by my own creation.