Thursday, August 26, 2010

Finishing a Novel

A lot of people have trouble with this. And I can understand why. I mean, it's hard to write over 50,000 words (the length varies greatly) and somehow manage to balance an exciting plot, controlled character development, and so much else. Descriptions, time lines, relationships.

So when you think about it, when someone finishes a novel, regardless of whether it will be published or not, we should applaud them. It's quite a feat. Even if the writing sucks! You stuck with something, you saw it through to the end. (It occurs to me I could sound like I talking myself up since I've finished a few books, but, really, I'm focusing on the world in general). But for those of you who are in that rut where you get excited about an idea and start a book, then get bored with that idea and get excited about a new one, and so on and so forth, I have some direct, probably unhelpful advice.

Just keep writing. If you really want to finish that book, here's what I suggest. If you get bored or stuck with it, sit down with a pad and pen and list all the possible directions the plot could go. Or write future scenes you would like to tie in eventually. Just don't force yourself to write out scenes you are uncertain about or feel no passion for, because the writing will probably come out as bad as you think it will.

And if you get that itch – a new idea banging on your door, calling out insistently – go ahead and answer it. But only for a short time. Write down this new idea, map out the plot if you want to, but go back to the book you're working on, and persevere!

Books are work. There are no illusions about that. "But, Kelsey, I really don't feel any more excitement for this book. I'm completely out of ideas." Try the method I suggested first, and, well, if that doesn't work, then I guess this project isn't meant to be. Maybe the next book will be the one. But you need to work your way out of the rut, someday, somehow. It might as well be now, right?