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05 May 2009 @ 08:07 pm
cannot brain i have teh dumb  

I think I have about a chapter and a half to go on this book. It is getting ever-slower. I have reached the Novelist’s Event Horizon. I’m coming to the conclusion that the last five chapters or so of any book is my least favorite part of writing it. For years now I’ve been skipping ahead and writing the last scene, and I now suspect that this is because I just want to get it over with and have some vague (if desperately wrong) hope that if I write the last scene the rest of it will all magically fall into place.

It doesn’t, of course, but hope springs eternal.

I did something different with this book, after a discussion at Magical Words about plotting vs pantsing. It struck me that the books that have gone the most smoothly–noteably THE QUEEN’S BASTARD and THE PRETENDER’S CROWN, which are flipping huge books–had, for their size, very detailed outlines. Now, I’ve always thought of myself as a pantser who only plots so far as it’s necessary to sell a book, but having thought about this, I decided to run an experiment. I wrote five pages of single-spaced notes for DEMON HUNTS in addition to the synopsis I’d used to sell the book.

My typical writing pattern is to hit the 1/3rd mark and a wall, back up, fix mistakes, charge forward to the 2/3rds mark, hit a wall, back up, fix mistakes, finish the book.

I made one mistake in this book (at least as far as I can tell. I’m sure my editor will find more.). It was of such colossal nature that I wrote myself into a corner within 1500 words and had to fix it. That was…halfway through? Or so. Otherwise, really, this has gone incredibly smoothly. A survey sample of one is too small to really tell, but I’m clearly going to have to try this method (I still can’t type that word without typing “Methos” first) again on the next book, because if I’ve found a way to take some of the pain out of putting a novel together, I want *on* that bandwagon. I’m almost looking forward to writing another book to see if it works again.

ytd wordcount: 167,700
miles to Minas Tirith: 228

(x-posted from the essential kit)
Current Mood: okayokay
Liralen Liliralen on May 5th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)


Cool that you've found a method that seems to be working for you. And it's really cool to hear about what the normal roadblocks seem to be, as I'm getting to those last five chapters of something I'm working on and finding it incredibly hard to keep going... bleh. So it was heartening to know that it's not just me. *laughs*
kitmizkit on May 5th, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
It's incredibly typical for me. :)
(Deleted comment)
kit: fanboy_bignosesmizkit on May 5th, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
Ev. Ar. Ee. Time. I usually notice, but yeah. My fingers do not like typing "method", even when I'm actively thinking about it. (I managed that time, but I often don't.)
Michellemsagara on May 5th, 2009 07:51 pm (UTC)
Whereas I love, love, love the end. It's the best part of the book because for me, writing novels is like pushing a large, unwieldy boulder up a steep incline. I push the damn boulder up the damn hill, starting with multiple chapter one attempts to get into the book. When the boulder hits the peak of the hill, and I often can't even see around the stupid thing to know I'm at the peak, it teeters for just a minute -- and then it plunges down the other side.

Then, I am racing to keep up, to catch up. The book eats my brain; I can't think of anything else until I've hit the end.

But the rock up the hill thing? Makes me pull out all my hair most days.
16:9 1.78:1 OAR: Ryusixteenbynine on May 5th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
"My typical writing pattern is to hit the 1/3rd mark and a wall, back up, fix mistakes, charge forward to the 2/3rds mark, hit a wall, back up, fix mistakes, finish the book." - That sounds exactly like what I do; it's very hard for me to just sit down and do the whole thing in one blast.