Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Excitement of Starting...and the Agony of Finishing

Don't you love when you've got a terrific new idea for a story, characters you love (with just the right names and just the right combination of traits that make them utterly believable and likable), and a plot that you can't wait to unfold?

It comes to you all at once, sometimes, a thunderbolt of inspiration, or in a series of dribbles, an idea upon an idea, until you flesh it out and think Great! I love it! You sit down to write, get a few thousand words in...and stumble to a stop.

What a stupid idea. What a lousy plot. What a gaping hole in the main character's motivation. And how am I ever going to get 85K words out of this?

The frustration of the middle can be staggering. You try a plot twist, you add a character, you tweak a conflict, and sometimes it takes shape. Sometimes it gets worse. Hopefully, it gets better. But finishing - that's something I continue to struggle with. Finding just the right way to wrap it all up, finding the perfect words, overwhelms me.

I'm in the middle of a 3rd revision of my latest WIP, and while avoiding working on the final few chapters, I looked through old works. Found a story I loved, with characters I loved, and decided I should dive back in and work on that one.

Changed up the plot, deleted some characters, and now I'm in the honeymoon stage with that one, wanting to move it forward.

Trouble is, I know I should really finish my current WIP. Which brings us back to the agony of finishing. Anyone have any good ideas about motivating myself through the final gates? Procrastination has set in the last week or so, and it's not a good thing. I want to get this finished. I want to send query letters out. I want to move on.

So why am I dragging my feet?


Marianne Arkins said...


I stumbled across this article: The Middle Sag, and thought of you!

I absolutely know what you mean... I wish I had a good answer, so that I could apply it to myself!

Pam said...

Oh gosh. I get excited toward the end. That light at the proverbial tunnel is always a slice of heaven. I think that's because I always have an ending in mind. If I don't know where I'm trying to end up, I'll wander the hills and valleys of my mind aimlessly. (Hey, you don't want to be there after dark.) It's the part in the middle that feels like I'm going up I-95 the wrong way that's a wee bit troubling. ;-)

Do you know how you want it to end and it's just the actual writing of it you dread?