Getting towards the end

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Bluesman
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Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:29 am Post

I've been writing on and off on my current project it for the last five years (I started it just before I started college), and the last year or so I've been putting in more and more time and taking it more seriously. I wrote around half of everything in this last year. I recently passed the 90.000 word mark on the manuscript, with another 50.000 or so words in random bits and pieces that I'm not sure I'm going to use. Maybe for the future. Sometimes I get inspiration for something that doesn't fit in the story, and I just proceed to write it down anyway. You never know when it'll come in handy, and it has lead to other ideas every now and then.

I'll probably end up with 28 or so chapters. There's a red line in the last three chapters and I'm pretty sure how I'm going to end it. Chapter 1-21 also flows nicely. The problem is the space between chapter 22 and 25. I have a general idea what I want in there, but writing it down feels like I really have to grind through it, while most of the chapters before that just flowed out of my fingers without much effort. I find it difficult to tie up loose ends and attach the right kind of meaning to things.

Does this sound familiar to any of you?

Hu
Hugh
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Mon Dec 16, 2013 3:09 pm Post

I'm sorry, but not really. I almost always know the end just after I know the beginning (or even, occasionally, before). This gives me something to aim at (and sometimes gives problems with the middle, but let's not go there today).

If in doubt, ask yourself 'What is the reader, having enjoyed all the foregoing, looking for at the beginning of Chapter 22 for an emotional and/or intellectual experience that foreshadows and then delivers an ending that is truly satisfying and potentially memorable? What plot threads need to be tied up or allowed to dangle, what lessons taught and learned or not learnt, what characters redeemed, reconciled or consigned to damnation? What would I really like to happen here?' That's what I'd do.

[I'd also look at popular culture for examples. The ending of Series 3 of Homeland, for instance: truly satisfying ending, or not? :? ]
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

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gr
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Mon Dec 16, 2013 5:56 pm Post

Maybe, though you initially thought you had a couple chapters worth of stuff to go there, you just . . . don't. I mean, if it feels obligatory to you writing it, it is going to feel obligatory to your reader reading it.

Maybe the stuff that just has to happen in there should not be all spelled out in scene, but more of it handled in narrative.

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Bluesman
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Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:24 am Post

Thanks for the insights. That makes sense. :)

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pigfender
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Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:55 am Post

Sometimes it happens, and I agree with gr(*)... if you're not feeling it then there's a goshdarn good chance the reader won't either. I wrote about one possible way out of it here:
http://www.pigfender.com/index.php/2013 ... ers-block/

* - I also agree with Hughbert, but that's just a given.
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"Some dice only have sixes." nom, 19 Oct 2013

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nom
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Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:41 am Post

OK, I'll be the cranky contentious one: Of course it's bloody difficult!!

<nom takes some slow breaths, visualises his happy place and hugs his teddy bear to calm down>
I'll concede that it depends on what you are trying to tell in that part of the story, and the type of novel you are writing, but from what you wrote...
Bluesman wrote:I find it difficult to tie up loose ends and attach the right kind of meaning to things.

...it seems like you are taking care to address established plot points in a specific way to achieve a broader aim. Nothing worse* than hanging plot points or, worse, inconsistent resolutions.

If I was better at actually copying quotes I like, or at least referencing where I found them, I'd provide some quotes to famous authors who struggled over every word and took ages to finish their books. But since I'm poor at non-academic referencing you'll need to either trust me that I recently read some relevant quotes that are perfect for this occasion or, even better, look them up yourself. Then read whatever Pigfender linked to because, despite himself, his blog is usually pretty good**.


*Other than poor spelling, woeful grammar, distressing font choices, plot holes, unbelievable characters or implausible action within the world established in the story.
**Don't let him know I said that. We've both got reputations to maintain.
Complete and utter NOMsense.
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Hu
Hugh
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Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:56 pm Post

nom wrote:Then read whatever Pigfender linked to because, despite himself, his blog is usually pretty good**.


Indeed yes. Thanks to bluesman for facilitating a reference. (And of course pf is right - to a great many questions, the answer is coffee.)
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

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vic-k
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Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:30 pm Post

nom wrote:poor spelling, woeful grammar, dist
WOT! you calling' 'is granmar woeful, an' your ma an' anty are runnin' around a TWS, wearing' now't but thongs and stripper's tassels. Y've got some neck, pal, I'll tell y'. Jeeezzz!!!
vic
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Jaysen
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Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:31 pm Post

vic-k wrote:
nom wrote:poor spelling, woeful grammar, dist
WOT! you calling' 'is granmar woeful, an' your ma an' anty are runnin' around a TWS, wearing' now't but thongs and stripper's tassels. Y've got some neck, pal, I'll tell y'. Jeeezzz!!!
vic

I thought he was talking about everything that has ever been written by me.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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Bl
Bluesman
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Thu May 22, 2014 2:40 pm Post

Just found this thread again. Funny how I thought I was almost done.

I passed the 140.000 this week and I'm at chapter 31 and 32. I got the ending outlined, now I just have to color it in.