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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In Pursuit of "The End"

Why is completing a draft so difficult?

Even when I know where I want to go with a story, sometimes getting from plot point to plot point is painful and grueling. Every word feels like I'm carving it into wood rather than simply typing it to the screen. When I work on longer pieces, I feel like every scene contains a potential boobie trap, where I'll realize that all of the careful plotting I've been doing doesn't make any sense, and the scene crumbles beneath my feet or sends poisoned darts flying at my neck.

So there is always something to be said for completing a draft. Just push through, no matter how good or bad you think the writing is and get to the end of the story. Once you have that first draft out of the way, you have a foundation on which to build the perfected story.

Last week, a friend left me a rather jubilant and exhausted voicemail message after finally completing a first draft on a project he'd been working on for more than a year. It was fantastic and inspiring to hear him get to that point after a very long journey. You have climbed a tall mountain, my friend, and I bet the view looks good.



eloise said...

Why is ending things so difficult? I think our brains put a block on "completed" projects. So don't worry about it being "finished." Just get to a point that you are proud of.

stu said...

Certainly waiting for perfection to arrive doesn't work. Whoever said that a novel is a long piece of writing with something wrong with it was right.

The thing with finishing seems to be almost the fear of what's next. You pour so much effort into something, and then it's done. Then what?

Anonymous said...

The problem with writing is that it's so easy to just keep tinkering. So often the first "ending" just isn't right. Then, oops, I used that word too many times. At a certain point revising becomes procrastination. Right now... I'm editing chapter 5 (which is fine) just to put off working on chapter 7 (which is a dangerous spot for the book). For me nothing is ever "ended" until someone takes it out of my hands and tells me to stop.

Justin said...

I'm with you there. Filling up a void is much tougher than refining what's already on the page, even if you have mapped out plot points or what have you.