Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ending Your Novel - Do You Resist It?

I've done no writing for five days! This is unusual for me, you probably realize. But I just couldn't quite face the last three chapters. After the rather wild ride of the past few months, where my characters jolted me, surprised me, irritated me, they are about to be herded towards the ending. From here on in, I'm the boss. This is where I must take the helm, so to speak, but being solely in control, knowing where the story is going, is far less fun for me. However, it's necessary, although I rather wish the story didn't have to end at all, because I've so enjoyed being with these people.

I said on Friday that I could be finished by Monday. Well, I took those days off, deliberately avoiding my computer, finding other things to take up my time. I could almost hear everyone clamouring at me when I passed by, but I ignored them. Thing is, if I want to be finished by the end of the month for sure, I should get back to it today. It helps to know that my friend is reading this as it becomes available, and she nags me for more all the time. Without her, perhaps I would have taken this last month off.

It's a kind of avoidance, of course, but legitimate at this stage, I think. Once the book is done, I'm in that "here we go again..." mode with agents. I don't suppose anyone truly enjoys that exercise. It's the equivalent of standing on a street corner, trying to sell my paintings, as far as I'm concerned...well, somewhat less public that that, I guess. (Although my Hafan Deg agent could want it and that would be great.)

If you sense my bad mood, you're right. Other than the final cleanup of the manuscript, that final, really final, dusting (in preparation for Typo Imp's eventual visit - remember, however many times you proofread, he'll still come a-calling), I won't have anything to do for a bit. I'll be too emotionally depleted to begin on the next book right away, and too cranky from proofreading to be any kind of fun for socializing. So I'll probably just sit, crabby and sulky, watching CNN or the BBC - which will make me even more crabby and sulky, albeit thankful I have two cats who love me regardless.

I hate ending my books. How do you feel? Does it make you happy? Perhaps this is why some of the Greats wrote such gigantic books, because they couldn't bear to say goodbye. But I am reminded of that wise adage - 'If you love them, let them go.'

Oh, and I hear you. Get over yourself, you're saying. But you're wrong. It's not me I need to get over. It's them - Strachan and Celia and Jay and Nell and Pam and Katie and Stephen and Harvey....

Hang on a minute...I can always make up some more. We writers are such a fickle lot.


Melissa Marsh said...

I actually love to write the ending because that's when the real work starts for me - after the novel is done!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing about how much you hate ending your books. I am "herding" my characters to their final page and I loathe it too! I hadn't thought about your idea that this is because the writer has to be in control at the end (instead of enjoying the ride), and you are exactly right!!!

Fran said...

Perhaps, Anonymous, you'll let us know how you feel AFTER it's done. Relief or sadness?