I’ve been clawing my way to the end of a manuscript.
I think this first draft is pretty decent, given how first drafts can be. It just feels like I clawed my way through at the end.
Am I the only one who’s felt that way?
Getting to the end is so different from the other parts of the WIP.
While writing the beginning of the draft, I’m excited. It’s like unicorns are dancing on rainbows.
Getting through the middle takes fortitude, rising above one’s inner compass of kindness to torture beloved characters, putting them through awkward, tense, and/or challenging situations so the reader can wince and gasp. Yes, the middle is difficult.
But rounding the track to the home stretch, to The End—capital “T”, capital “E”—is like clawing to the finish line.
Along the home stretch to The End, I wonder:
- Are there any plot holes?
- Am I tying up all the loose ends?
- Is anything missing? (Besides some of my marbles.)
And when I think about the plot, I contemplate the characters:
- Are the main characters fleshed out? Robust enough?
- Have I told their full story?
- Have I put all of their emotions on the page?
- Have I done them justice?
- Or are they looking at me with the “Really, dude?!” face that I see on teenagers?
Big-picture stuff runs through my mind, too:
- Is the tone consistent? What about the character’s voices?
- Do I have enough romance? Do I have enough humor? (Two important things since the book is supposed to be a romantic comedy.)
- Is it believable that these characters fell in love? (Yep, that would be another very important thing for a romance.)
As I approach The End, my brain zig-zags back through the manuscript, criss-crossing through the three acts. I go back and tinker with this and that scene. The End becomes more elusive. The goal post keeps moving.
Today, I finished the draft. I clawed my way to The End.
My mind hasn’t settled, though. More questions swarm:
- Is the end satisfying? (With writing romance novels, a happy ending is a requirement.)
- Did I really finish?
- Uh oh, there are two scenes that I skipped writing in the draft. Can I say that I’m done and write those scenes during the second draft? (Sure, why the heck not?)
- Now that I’m officially finished, why isn’t there a parade outside my front door?
- Does Amazon deliver pom-poms the same day?
- Now that I’ve reached The End, how much re-writing do I have to do?
- Oh boy, is this book even any good?
Getting to The End is a painstaking, scrupulous process, but it’s absolutely necessary. We have to do it to get the project done. Without The End, the book isn’t complete.
Without The End, there simply is no book.
“Keep your eyes facing forward and write, write, write til you reach The End.” Tyranny of The First Draft by The Talkative Writer
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