From Hook to Book

My “not” NaNoWrMo Month

I’m NOT doing the NaNoWrMo month, though I’m envious of all who are. My WIP is well along the way, so I thought I’d use the NaNo inspiration and discipline to track my progress on finishing my second draft – including adding the ending – and whipping it into a new structure.

So week one: (I started – so am counting last week – even though it wasn’t quite November.) Finally, I wrote the last two chapters. Thank God. These two have been me eluding for months. Every time I thought I came close to finishing, I found another storyline I’d not tied up, or brought to the finish line too. So back I’d go. And, I realised I’d not built the momentum to the climax enough, or painted a vivid enough picture to show how my characters got there. The climax is rather shocking, and I hadn’t built the motivations/mood enough to warrant the crisis yet. I didn’t even want to play at writing it, until I had everything in place. So I kept writing, until, finally, two weeks ago, I was there.

Then I had a crappy week of procrastination and forgot any good advice “just write it” that I’ve ever passed on to anyone else. Finally I figured out the problem. I was terrified. Terrified of finishing. And sick to my stomach in case I couldn’t pull it off. What if the end turned out to be rubbish?

Well, I have to say – now it’s written – it did turn out a bit rubbish. Not unmitigated shred immediately rubbish, but it’s not the strong, resonating finish I was after. I’m taking heart recalling Arnold Zable once say that his first drafts are flat, and it’s in the second,  he brings them to life. (Technically, my ending is still first draft – so there’s hope for it.) For now, I’m letting myself off the hook and thinking at least it’s finally written. Now I’ve got something to work with – actually I’ve got a whopping 130,463 words to work with.

So onward I go. This week, I want to see if I can breathe some life into my ending, and then address some of the multiple red ink “notes to self” throughout the mss to see if I can clear up a few issues and add in some details.

Meanwhile, I’ve rediscovered Wordle and loved having a play using my manuscript to see the word clouds it creates using some of the text. Well, I can’t work every minute.

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10 thoughts on “My “not” NaNoWrMo Month

  1. Your post made me smile, Chris. Yes, there are lots of up and down moments in writing, but all you can do is keep on keeping on. The world is filled with writers who have given up – so just keep at it!
    And enjoy the sometimes roller-coaster ride too!! 🙂

    • So glad to hear my post made you smile, Sheryl. Never going to give up, just sometimes the ride gets scary. That’s when it’s great to have writing buddies that understand the steep climb, amazing highs at the top and plummeting lows. 🙂 Chris

  2. Ummm… Chris, I’ve been at that panic station in the last couple of days with my WIP – a verse novel. I was relating to sooooo much of what you said in this – until you came to the word count! 130,463 words!?!! Mine is *mumbles* 1,890. Now it will grow from that (it will!) but it will not go aaaaanywhere near 1/10th of your total! I’m in awe of you!

  3. Chris, I could really relate to this post. I also find endings really really hard. I have blogged about it at http://wp.me/ppiTq-zE

    Good luck with it. Try not to stress too much – endings can change – many times lol.

    • Hi Dee. Love your endings blog post. Your advice is spot on. I think my problem is that there has been so much tension and power in my preceeding scenes that my ending seems “quiet”. It is a wrap up. I intend to rework it though as many times as it takes to get it right. I totally agree with you that the end needs to be as strong as the beginning, and hopefully the reader will then be eager to read my next book.

  4. Think we’ve all been there at some point in time and more than once Chris.
    Have to admit I’d not held of the Wordle thingy.

  5. I love Wordle too, and got pretty darn excited when I worked out how to add pics to it! As to a strong finish, I love books that do exactly what you described – tie up loose ends and leave me as a reader the time and space and inclination to reflect.

    • Book Chook, I absolutely hope that I will give the reader not only the time and space to reflect but the desire too.

      You’ve got me excited at the thought of adding pics to Wordle. Off to check it out now. 🙂

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