Song of the Day: The Kill by 30 Seconds to Mars
Do you spend a little extra time writing the ending of your book, or do you breeze through it with ease? You would think that because it is the end, it would be a snap to wrap that puppy up and call it a day, right? Wishful thinking.
This past week, I finished book #3 in my “Romancing the Pirate” series. But it didn’t come easy. Though I knew sort of what was going to happen – yes, I am a card-carrying pantster – I really had no idea how the story would get to ‘the end’. Guess you could say I’m just along for the ride, much like a reader. All I knew for sure was there would be a lot of nail biting, breath-holding action, and a happy ending. Pirates deserve to be loved, too, you know.
Completing this manuscript was, at times, tedious. I experienced moments of shear genius, my prose burning up the keyboard with g-force speed. This would be followed by the clackety-clack-clack of agonizing drags lasting days. Now, I am so exhausted, I have jet lag.
The scenes were drafted in my head barring any details or dialogue. The good guys, aka pirates, fought the bad guys, aka corrupt government (how’s that for irony). Yet, it took me much longer to write the scene than I would have liked. Eventually, the hero bests the villain and wins his heroine. Great, only I didn’t feel the story was done. Ohhh no. I needed to make the hero and heroine suffer more. It only seemed right. Once I decided on how to put their lives in jeopardy again with a harrowing near death escape, I blazed right through it in just a couple of hours.
And still, I couldn’t write the words ‘the end’ just yet. An epilogue was in order to tie up all loose ends. This should be no problem. Okay, okay, I admit, keeping up with the Kardashians is easier than answering all the questions left in the wake of the prior 17 chapters.
Some writers make charts to help them keep track of all subplots, characters, and objects relevant to their stories. Others wallpaper their writing spaces with post-it notes. And still others have outlines, notebooks, dry erase boards, and files. I envy them. Though I do keep notes from time to time, I don’t do these things. I can’t. As I write, the tales evolve on their own, surprising even me on occasion. I’m free to let the characters tell the story through their eyes. Otherwise, I’m convinced, with my compulsive organizational skills, the narrative would come out stiff.
I somehow remember all those loose ends. Granted, it does take some serious staring out of the window and face scrunching, but I rarely forget any points that need to be revisited. I chalk it up to the way I do my first round edits. Once I’m finished with a chapter, I print it out for editing. I can’t move forward until I have read through, made changes, and strengthened the writing. Anal retentive? You bet! It certainly isn’t an easier method than plotting with charts or color-coding with sticky notes, but it works for me simply because I retain more of the story as I go along.
Stop. Go. Stop. Go. That defines how I write the endings to my novels. What about you? Do you find that when you get close to the end it’s like a downhill ride and you write faster? Or are you more like me, where the roller coaster has its ups and downs and hair pin turns, but near the end, the ride slows down until that final jerk and the seat restraint lifts?
Let me hear from you!