Limping to the Finish Line
I've never been good at finishing stories. Ask the tens of notebooks lying around my house with 3/4 of a fanfiction in them. Please don't ask me to write a short story, because more than likely, it will turn into a novel. I've been successful with some of my fanfictions, but that's probably because I have an idea in my head and the characters written for me, so it's a little easier for me to break things off when the story comes to a finishing point.
But with my own characters, it's like I don't want their story to end. And yes, I know that's what sequels are for. But part of me is worried that it will take me as long for a sequel as it did/is taking for this one. Which, for the record, I know is ridiculous, because I'm not having to create these characters again. I do keep telling myself that, but I digress.
My writing style is... different.. from other writers I've talked to. I let my characters write their own stories, and my fingers are just the vessels through which they speak. I step back and let them take over. I don't force them to speak when they don't want to/can't, and I think that's why dialogue is one of my strong suits. Plotting, however, is a different story.
Over the eight years of me trying to get this novel finished, it's changed main characters, plots, names, etc. so many times, it's a completely different story than I started out with. At first, I was upset with myself at that, but it's part of the creative process, right? What you start out with doesn't always become what you end up with, and I think that's true no matter the medium, whether it's drawing, painting, writing, music, or journaling, even. Inspiration changes and ideas change. The longer you work with certain aspects of creativity, they have more time to say different things to you.
Only last week, I knew how my story was going to end. It came at a time when I was having writer's block at pushing forward with the current scene, so I took my own advice that I give to writers all the time: start somewhere else. And I started from the end. I picked a spot close to the end, or what I thought might be the end, and the words started flowing like a river. Now, I'm sure some things will change when I get back to that point and do a little more scene-building, but I did it. I wrote the end of my book, something I wasn't sure would even happen, considering my track record. And now I have something to work towards.
I've got about 15,000 words to fill in to reach my goal, so the next few weeks will most likely be a combination of starting from the point I left off and moving forwards and starting from the end and working backwards until they meet in the middle. I'm actually very excited to try writing backwards, as that's something totally new and challenging, and I love the concept of it.
When they do meet in the middle, I will have my first full draft of my first novel, and the feeling of just typing that brings in such a sense of accomplishment and a goal reached. I will still have a long way to go, but I'll be over that first hurdle, which has been the hardest for me so far.
I'll keep you updated, but keep an eye out in the coming weeks for that HOORAY post!
I'm an editor, yes, but I'm also on a writing journey of my own. In writing about my own struggles, maybe it'll help you out, too.