Friday, January 12, 2007

To finish, or not to finish....

There really isn't an option.

IF you want to get published someday, you have to reach those two final words in your manuscript: THE END

Easy? Think again. I know many authors -- including myself -- who have more than one computer file filled with starts and stops of various stories. Some will eventually see the light of day, the rest, well...I believe there's a void where those characters will have to live until they somehow weedle their way into another tale.

Beginning a story can be simple. Then you hit, say, CHAPTER FOUR, and things start to stall out. So maybe you skip a few scenes and get some other stuff down on paper (or the screen). But somehow, the story just dies.

Guess what? No one will ever publish an unfinished novel. (Big revelation, huh? ;) )

So you have to make a plan to FINISH THE DA*N STORY!

No one can do it for you. You may have friends who can help brainstorm a plot point or two. You may have others who can motivate you in other ways. But you, and only YOU can finish that story.

Turn off the internal editor. Bribe yourself if you need to and get it done. I know some authors won't let themselves read other books until they finish a wip (work in progress). I did that once with a Dark-Hunter novel I had bought. I wouldn't let myself crack that spine until I finished what I was working on -- believe me, it worked! ;)

Other bribes work, too. Dinner out; a special candy; a new outfit even. Whatever it takes -- that you can afford, obviously -- make yourself a deal and stick with it.

My other tricks are as follows:

1. I finish a scene and/or chapter and let myself edit it through one time. Then I move on to the next part. Then when I finally write THE END, I go through it again from beginning to end.

2. If I get well and truly stuck on one project -- to the point of not being able to write at all -- then I set it aside for a bit and try to work on something else. In my humble opinion, not all ideas are meant to be good novels. But at least I'll get a good writing exercise out of it.

3. Brainstorm with fellow writers for ideas. If you have a good friend who also writes, they can be invaluable to you when it comes to ironing out those plot twists. I've had friends help me from everything from naming a character, historical inaccuracies, and what occupation my hero should have.

**But always remember: no matter what anyone says, it is YOUR story. Don't change a thing if you feel uncomfortable with that change. Obviously, this does not apply to the opinion of an editor who may want to publish your book. **

Again, to finish or not to finish.... well, it depends on whether or not you ever want to get published. Writing is the first step; finishing is the second.

Get going! ;)

2 comments:

Rene Lyons said...

I do not...and I repeat, do not ...want to finish Setheus. And I only have 3,000 words left to go, which for me (since I'm writing it very slowly) is only two days worth of work. lol

How sad is that?

But, I'll finish it, because it's contracted and I have to. ;)

Meg Allison said...

(GGGG)

And you'll finish because you have some readers that would get ticked if you didn't. ;)

Two days worth??? Sheesh, I'm not even going to think about how long it might take me to write that much. :P

Get going, Rene! ;)