It is that time of year again!
Yes – November! And for some, it’s the month where you grow out a beard with the enthusiasm of all around you in order to raise money for charity; for others, it’s the countdown to Thanksgiving and Good Friday and all that is wrapped up in that; and still others, it’s just the month between Halloween and Xmas that has no purpose but to move past quickly so they can get to the gingerbread and mistletoe. And then there are those of the writing inclination: for us, November is Nanowrimo – that is, National Novel Writing Month (even though, I have realized it isn’t National so much an International, but whatevs.)
For this month, I am participating, which means that by midnight, November 30th I will have written a 50k word novel, or at least have written 50k words that may one day (after multiple revisions and more words) be considered a novel!
I will chart my progress here on the blog on Mondays and Fridays, and since it’s Nano, the days I am not charting my progress I will also post a book review for you guys! On Mondays, I will post a discussion on novel writing things – plot, characterization, how to stay motivated and determined, and such things. And on Fridays, I will go through the number of words I wrote, where I am in lieu of the entirety of the novel and what predictions I can make for the following week.
This Monday’s topic is: Getting to that “The End”
So you’ve gotten into a groove, have a great story rolling along, with quirky but complex characters and thrilling plot lines that twist and turn through the world you were so careful when you created. You’re golden.
And hell, you even got somewhere around 50,000 words.
And you know there’s an ending of sorts. You know it’s there, on the horizon, somewhere. You even have it etched out. But admist the conversations riddled with quips and carefully worded gestures (that will one day be character catch phrases) and the descriptions of cocked eyebrows or penetrating gazes or even some multi-tentacled monster, you got carried away, off track a little bit and no longer are sure where to locate that ending you’d penciled in at the beginning of this whole exercise. Worse – you may not want to end it! You’re having fun in this universe you’ve created, you don’t want to leave!
I get you, oh do I get you.
I once wrote a novel (I was 14) which ended up having 116 347 words … and no ending in sight.
It was about a pink-haired alien.
If you ever have a hope of having a novel – you have to end it. I know you’re enjoying yourself, but you have to end it or face the fact that you have a rambling series of events, not a story.
So here are some tips to ending it:
1. Go back to your outline.
Remember that whole plot mountain? Right. Go back to it. Trace the events of your story on it and figure out where you got marred down. Could be you spent so much time on the set up that yiu haven’t really gotten to the action part. Could be that you liked the rising action so much that you … just .. kept…going. Wherever it was that you veered off your mountain – go back and fix it.
Then carry on.
2. If it’s not a Plot-Veering off Problem, figure out what the block is.
My last novel I got into a weird sort of hang up: part of the rising action was a truce called by the two main characters where it concerned their relationship. I enjoyed writing those scenes so much that I started to find myself shying away from writing the next stage of the story – the part where they’re ripped apart by circumstances (okay, and a drug dealer) and there is much heartbreak and menace. I just didn’t want to let go of the mooney part of the story yet.
But when I read back, I realized it was legging the story, making it dull and too long. And so I picked a logical point in the story to break off the laggy stuff and resolutely moved on.
It’s hard – don’t get me wrong, it’s so hard to do this. But it’s necessary – otherwise how will the story run its course?
A tip for when you go back to figure out at which point you’ll end it all and continue the story: choose the point where you stat feeling either too bored with what you’ve written, or too gleeful about it – chances are, those are the times when you’ve gone too far.
3. Write the ending.
Sometimes, I encounter a situation where I want to get to the end, but really hate all the stuff leading up to it. I mean – who wants to write all the nit picky? Who wants to have to write all the little things?
My advice to you for those time: Write the ending. Just get it out of your system – pres “enter” a few times, then write the ending as you envisioned it. And after that’s all written and you purged it from your system – go back and write all the stuff you missed. Because you have to go back and write in the filler – otherwise you’ll have disjointed bits of the story, and we can’t have that.
So there you have it! 3 simple, but effective ways to get to your ending! Now go forth and power through!
Only a couple days left!