I’M AIMING FOR around 80,000 words on my first draft of Down To Earth (that leaves me 10k to add in). Currently I’m at seventy, and the story is at that critical stage where everything is starting to tie in. All the characters are arcing towards the finale and the plot is suddenly primed with turbo and racing towards resolution.
It is a time of both excitement and apprehension. In my mind, I know exactly what is going to happen and who needs to be where. I don’t write notes generally, so all of the finale is a series of images in my mind. If there was some way to develop them and print them off, I don’t doubt they’d look like they were taken from a real place. Now, while that sounds ideal, there is a trick some brains will play on the writer. Knowing the end can be dangerous to the creative process. A) You know the end, therefore the end has been ‘written’ B) Knowing the end can stifle creativity in getting to the end.
I’ll deal with those two issues separately. With A actually writing the end (or it can be a scene, chapter, short story) can seem more difficult because the brain has resolved the problem in theory, and it is easy to feel a lethargy with that. A series of satisfactory mental scenes can feel almost too close to being realised.
With B just knowing the end can hold back creativity. If you know the plot between Y—-Z then creatively, the mind will be loath to fill that gap with anything else. Of course we need an end point at some stage, but in terms of writing a novel I agree with the likes of Stephen King in that planning the end from the outset is a story killer. Strangely when it comes to short stories I do tend to know the ending, but with a book I work better not thinking too hard about it until the story develops to the point where it is needed.
So, the finish line is calling, but there’s almost a reluctance to reach it. It’s almost as if on some conscious level I am sabotaging myself, because it will mean the end of the story until I begin redrafting. Well! Maybe it’s the dreaded redrafting and editing that I am actually delaying? Either way I need to get back on the story train. What station does it stop at?
Happy writing. (Or tortured writing – hey, as long as it’s productive.)