So. That’s it. Just two more nights to go. Doesn’t it feel strange?
Whatever the outcome of this year’s November adventure—and that’s between you and your novel alone—it might be beneficial to look at one of the hardest things in any noveling expedition, apart from starting the novel, writing it, editing it and daring to release it out there: the wrap up moment.
It might be writing the final few thousand words of the final part (if you’re writing it in a linear manner), or the final few (thousand words’ worth of) scenes to patch up the missing pieces between the scenes you’ve already written. Either way, when you’re done, that’ll be it: the end.
While there are still a few dozen hours between the moment I’m writing this and midnight on November 30th, the end seems imminent, and one thing I’m not ready for is to say that it’s done. As of this moment, there are nine more scenes I have to write in this very short time—most of them only a few sentences long, but… there’s this one scene I’ve been dreading for over a week now. It’s one of those you can’t just sit and write it in fifteen minutes, or in half an hour between errands, even though I expect it to be short. The problem is that I’m going to have to, well, destroy a character’s emotional state in order for the scene to work, and the only way I can currently think of doing that (maybe I’m just a bit under the weather) is to go through the scene alongside the character and, well. Heartbreak is all good and well when you get to read it—but writing it, not so much. (It’ll all be over soon, anyway.)
If you’re among the linear majority, though (at least among the writers I’m in semi-regular contact with), wrapping a novel up will mean writing the final few pages and/or thousands of words. You might have an idea about how the story will end, you might even have it all laid out—or you’re planning on writing it through to the end as it comes, which is fun enough in itself—but the inevitability of the end is something not many novels have been able to circumvent. (We’re not going into the discussion about series and cliffhangers. Not today.) The only important thing, I’d say (although, khm, YMMV) is to remember that the reader cares about the end, even if we don’t. Even when we’re ready to launch the novel into space and/or into the garden, through the window, if we have to look at it for even a day more. It’s worth holding on tight for just a few days, hours or minutes more, to give the novel the ending it deserves.
So hold your horses. You’ll have plenty of time to rest come Sunday. For now, keep going, keep typing, remind yourself that there is always more coffee—and more sleep to be had throughout the rest of your life—but November only has the thirty days. Plan your Thank Goodness It’s Over (TGIO) party in the short breaks you take, especially since we’re lucky enough to be able to hold it on Sunday this year. (We’re going to a pancake festival, how about you?)
Today, on the twenty eight day of writing, though, is not the day you quit. Nor will it be tomorrow. Hold fast, keep Surprise on your side, and keep your eyes on the horizon, not on the keyboard.
We’ve got this.
Photo by Michaeltk.