The End is Near

And so I face…the final draft is not how Frank Sinatra sang that line.

Ever get to the stage in a writing project when all the little details seem to merge into one? I’m sitting around 80k words and I know the ending which might take me up to 85k which is a good thing, however there are so many nuances and twists that I don’t sincerely feel able to actually write the ending until I have printed off what I’ve written so far.

The climax of the story is crucial for the details and storylines that converge on a point and without a nice overview of what I have written, although I remember it all, I feel the need to have a printed copy in front of me to sort out a few niggly things. Until then I can’t be satisfied with writing the ending, knowing it won’t be as polished as it ought to be.

Printing your short stories or novel off is a prerequisite, I was going to do it anyway, now I just need to do it a little sooner than I expected. Down To Earth has been great fun to write but I need closure on what has gone before. That editing purge is needed to bring everything in to focus at the finishing line.

lion around 2

34 Comments

  1. I have no tips for you… do you have an editor to work with? I think this is the face where it seems almost impossible to end it… I can only retell what others have told me… one person told me to read the manuscript aloud, record it and listen to it… don’t know if it works.

    1. I have an editor…me. And a few beta readers once it is more polished.
      I hear the reading it out loud works, but have yet to try it, I may do that for some sections and see if it helps.

  2. Woohoo! Congrats! That’s awesome. And I wholeheartedly agree – printing drafts is key. There’s something about seeing it in front of you, that just reconciles your understanding of the piece differently than viewing it on a screen. No question. Good luck writing the ending!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. i think your characters and even your storyline somehow KNOW that editing must be done. Isn’t it cool that these fictional characters have the opportunity that we do not? To go back in time, in their stories, and ‘tidy things up’ a bit? Loose ends knotted in nice and tight, words said that were ‘limp’ can now have more force, removal of some bits because the bits are superfluous. Fabulous!

    I think a writer (you) should feel free (compelled even) to print off in hard copy, and edit, as often as you want. You may even edit something out, then decide to put it back in later – in an edit you do weeks down the road – because it fits better now with all the other edits you’ve done. Keep every one of your edited copies. You never know when a snip you remove from THIS story is the springboard for the next story.

    Question from a wannabe novelist: is word count terribly important? You mention being near to 85,000 words. Even if you wait to edit until you hit that magic number, you’ll ‘lose’ words during the editing process. Does this mean you MUST add more words just to hit that magic number? Or is a story done when it’s done – whether it’s 10,000 words or 85,000 words. Hemingway used an economy of words – as did other writers of his era – and his stuff was/is powerful.

    1. Firstly it is awesome that in fiction nothing is permanent and can be changed, one of the perks of writing.
      Defo agree on keeping edited copies.
      As for word count: it is important up to a point. Certain genres want X amount of words. Generally popular fiction tops out around 90000 words but there are always exceptions. And on this project I wrote quite sparsely, so I will be adding words in rather than taking them out although there will be some cuts made of course.
      If I went up to 100k I would likely chop the story to 95 at least, whereas if I finish around 90k I will be very happy.

  4. Reading on the screen isn’t the same as reading hard copy. No idea why, but I remember someone telling me that it’s to do with tactile senses getting involved?
    Also, I once had a weird file corruption that turned 20k of a manuscript (including backed up files), into mush. Luckily I had a hard copy I was editing or I would have had to rely on my brain for assistance.

  5. Congratulations! My husband was a writer and always said finishing one of his novels was bittersweet, like losing a good friend. Cheers, because editing is no fun (I did it for him), and bask in the knowledge that you finished your novel! Most folks don’t even start on one. You go, man!

      1. Don’t stress, there are lots of freelance editors that can help for decent prices. Have someone else handle it for now, that’s my advice, take it or leave it. My late husband couldn’t stand to even look at his manuscript after he was done with it, and I understand that, now. It’s like giving birth, he said. We got together a crew of 4 people who were willing to review his 690 page manuscript. It wasn’t easy, but we did it. Everyone just wrote their edits down on paper and I entered them all into the online manuscript. It can be done. Have faith. You have a voice that the world needs to hear. You can do this!

  6. It seems so obvious now, but I hadn’t thought about printing out my writing for the editing process. I think it would definitely make a difference in how I approach the process. Great advice! And good luck with your ending.

  7. That’s a good idea… I have a few things that need finishing but I want to re-read first. Maybe I should print them to do it.
    Good luck with the ending!! Endings make me sad…hence the unfinished stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yeah endings are tough, the finite-ness makes it difficult to deal with.
      You should def print off your work, its such a good way to read it and makes it real not just text on a screen.

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