Three weeks ago, I all but finished writing Addicted, my first work of fiction. The main elements of the story are finished. All that’s left is to write a chapter or two to wrap things up. I would have finished it three weeks ago, but I couldn’t figure out how to get from where I was to where I wanted the book to end.
It’s not a case of writer’s block. If it was, I wouldn’t even be able to blog. I’m just stuck.
I’ve been stuck like this before. The first time was early in the process of writing Glass Houses. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to advance the story. After reading a draft, a friend asked several questions about what I was trying to accomplish and the focus of the story. Though it took me a while to figure out the answers, once I did, everything came together and I knew what to do to move forward.
In the process of writing Addicted, I’ve been stuck several times. The cause is usually a subplot or character development that just doesn’t work. Taking a break helps. When I return to the manuscript a few weeks later, the problem is more obvious and a solution comes immediately to mind.
This time is different. It’s not a problem with the purpose of the story. The story is more or less complete. Nor is it a problem with a subplot or character development. These, too, have all been resolved. In fact, I strongly suspect that the fact the story, subplots, and character arcs are complete is the problem.
Maybe it’s time to stick a fork in it and call it done. Perhaps I can’t think of anything else to write because there just isn’t any more to add to the story. But if this were true, why does the book still feel incomplete?
Taking a break didn’t help. Now I’m re-reading the entire manuscript and hoping that the content of the last few chapters will somehow occur to me along the way. Maybe some of my friends who are reading the manuscript will give me some feedback that will help me figure out where I need to go. If not, I may have to wait for help from my writer’s group.
Beginnings and endings are always the hardest parts to write. Deciding exactly where to start a story can be difficult, especially for me because I have a tendency to over-explain the obvious. Writing a good ending is just as hard. That’s why I always end this blog with something about…
My Glass House