I woke up to 26 views on here this morning, and while I’m elated, I am also puzzled. I haven’t written anything interesting since last week–just my little itty bitty Daily Progress Reports. I hope this means I’ve garnered some regular readers who check in every day to see if I’ve done something worth reading. So I have determined to try and write something interesting for you today.
I have been thinking about the end lately. I am over 86k in Houses of Cards. I expect it to be right around 100K. I looked at my word count total for last week and it was over 6k. If I maintain this pace, I will be finished in less than 3 weeks. This makes me want to park in front of my computer and write like a maniac for that period of time. But it also makes me want to run screaming. Because I have no idea how the final confrontation scene will go. I know a certain character shows up to warn the heroine about the danger she’s in and gets shot in front of her as he’s about to reveal the identity of the bad guy (and he’s shot by the bad guy of course). But I have no idea what happens after that. I don’t know where the hero is during this confrontation. I don’t know who saves the day. I do know the heroine has a huge emotional decision to make once she finds out who the bad guy is, in terms of how far she’s willing to go to stop him. I am hoping like hell that something comes to me when I get to that point. Of course I have 2 scenes I need to go back and fill in, which are brief. One is the introduction to the hero’s daughter (which necessitates borrowing someone’s 5 year old to see how they act) and the other is the profile of the bad guy (which necessitates more academic type research and a refreshing of my memory of some profiling specifics). But still The End Is Near.
It’s the end of an era practically. Other books won’t be an era, but this one is. I started it my senior year of high school. I’ve written on it off and on, getting to a certain point in the middle and changing things again and starting over. Nine years I’ve done this, lived with these characters and seen them evolve as I did both as an adult and a writer. And in the last four months I’ve solidified the story and their characters and now I’m almost finished. There’s no sequel opportunity here with these two characters. This is their story. And it makes me sad because I love them. It’s like saying goodbye to old friends. Nevermind the fact that their lives will continue in my head, and I’ll get to see them have children and grow old together (because that’s how my HEA works in my head). And nevermind the fact that finishing this means a step closer to actual publication or the fact that it means I can jump into the next story in my list, with other characters I’ll fall in love with. So it’s very bittersweet, this coming to the end. There’s a huge sense of accomplishment (as I haven’t finished a book in many many years), and I think that will override the sadness, mostly. There will be much screaming like little girls between Pot and I. She’s en route to be finished shortly after I am, as she’s doing 70 Days of Sweat. Then for me it will be the read through and edit of technical stuff, and it’s off to my handful of trusted beta readers. If my mother in law can’t figure out whodunit before I tell the reader, I consider it a success. I’ve never seen anybody as good as she is about figuring it out at the beginning. It’s been a personal challenge to try and stump her. We shall see.
In the meantime, it’s back to the day job until I can write this afternoon!
I’ve started to think about the end a lot too. Not about what happens- which would actually be helpful- but just about finishing. I definitely have finishing anxiety about a lot of things in my life, so it’s a big deal. I think that’s why even when I have ideas about what’s coming next, I only ever write the one scene at a time that I’ve committed to. It’s sort of the maximum amount of foot-dragging I’m allowed at this point.
For me, it’s much more a scared thing than a bittersweet thing. After all, all I want for Matt and Alex is for them to live happily ever after, and my goal since I sat down was to overcome all the obstacles I’d put between them and get them there so that they could be together forever. You know that I don’t have that thing with my kid where I long for her to stay a baby forever; I want her to develop and live through the stages of her life. (Part of me wants just wants to see what comes next.) In the same way, I don’t feel any need to cling to Alex and Matt and have them stay in the storytime forever. I want this stuff done for them so that they can live out their lives beyond the pages.
So for me it’s more a feeling that I could mess that up for them somehow. It comes back to a perfectionist problem I have that once I say “this is done” it’s finished and set in stone and ready to be pronouced “not good enough” by anyone who lays eyes on it. And the dumb idea I have that writing The End means that it’s over–well, I guess it makes me nervous that I’m not going to give them as good a story as they deserve.
But that’s me all over, isn’t it?
You’ve created these AMAZING and complex characters and given them such a rich history and emotional relationship–their obstacles are high and difficult and yet THEY WILL OVERCOME for the HEA. I don’t think anyone–reader OR character–can ask for more than that. You do them all proud.
I admit I cruise by and see how the work is going and if you met goal for the day. I’m always amazed and in awe of the discipline it takes to write. Good for you!
You talking about ending the writing process is how I feel when I finish reading a really good book. You just don’t want it to be over.