Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Reaching the End

How do other writers manage to finish a book? How do you?
The first in my series, CUT SHORT, wasn't planned in advance - I simply ran with an idea. Before writing the second in my series, ROAD CLOSED, I did a detailed plan and went further with DEAD END which is coming out in 2011, and wrote a ten page synopsis before I wrote the first draft. I have done the same for the fourth in my series.
Now, with 63 of the 64 chapters written, the first draft of my fourth book is almost complete. I know what to do and could easily finish the first draft in an hour at the most. So what's stopping me? It can't be described as 'writer's block' (whatever that is) because I know exactly what to do. The words are already there in my head just waiting to appear on the page.
But once they're typed - that's it.
Then, of course, the next stage begins, going over what I've written and checking details - names, dates, etc - editing expression, polishing the wording, thinking about the structure - there will be lots of work to do.
But the first draft will be finished.
So what is stopping me from finishing? Why is it so hard to let go? I'm enjoying writing my current MS so much I just don't want this to stop. If I wasn't writing a series I don't think I would ever reach the end of this book... at least until an idea for what is going to happen to Geraldine in the fifth book starts buzzing about in my brain... and I already have an inkling!

20 comments:

Karen L. Alaniz said...

I don't have any great answer for you, but I CAN most certainly, relate! My memoir will come out next fall. For me, the first edit/revision is the worst. But this project, I realize is completely different than anything else I will ever do. Because it involves my father and his WWII experiences, a good part of it is writing someone elses experiences and getting them right. But yeah, we need to coin a new phrase because you're right - it isn't writer's block. Hmmm...I bet we can think of something. Good luck with it.

Leigh Russell said...

Good to hear from you, Karen, and good luck with the memoirs. That must be a difficult book to write.

Jen Brubacher said...

I know how you feel, Leigh! I finished my book yesterday, and all of today I've felt kind of at a loose end. I sort of wish I'd made it last longer. Huh.

Anyway, hooray for book five, whenever you start writing that one!

Leigh Russell said...

Congratulations on finishing, Jen. I would be working on finishing off my current book (which is sort of finished but I'm not admitting that yet, not even to myself) but I'm just too busy... er... blogging... Lots to do. Must visit my facebook page, and tweet... and... er... blog some more... and then I really will do some writing, if it's not too late... after I've checked my emails again...

Anonymous said...

Yay, the second link works! First of all, I wanted to say that I ordered Cut Short and it arrived yesterday morning. Looking forward to getting stuck in when I've finished Alex Gray's "Five Ways to Kill a Man".

I've just finished my first crime novel. Currently waiting for my first choice of agent to "open" for submissions :-) Book #2 is plotted and I'm just about to start writing. However, I actually plot the ending first because I like to know where I'm headed. I got such a buzz when I reached the point where all my characters were "in position" for the final act and I confess that I shed a tear because they (i.e. these figments of my imagination) didn't know what was coming to them!

J L Martin (Twitter)

Leigh Russell said...

Hi JL Martin - I always work out my plot before I start writing. When you write a book you invite your readers to go on a journey with you and if you don't know the destination how do you know when to point your readers in the right direction and when to take them off on a a detour with a red herring or two? Thank you for buying CUT SHORT - I hope you enjoy it!

Clarissa Draper said...

I go through similar feelings when I complete a manuscript. I feel like I'm losing a friend. It's like the movie's over but you want a sequel and if you don't have the sequel in your mind yet, you feel a lose. THat's what it is for me.

CD

Leigh Russell said...

It's a flat feeling, isn't it, Clarissa? And also a slight panic - what on earth have I created? Is anyone going to like it? That's the point at which I have to move on and start thinking about the next book...

Star said...

I think you just start a new book? That way you hold on to your characters. They just wander off in search of new adventures or new adventures come to them. My protagonist is currently involved in growing pumpkins for a show.
Blessings, Star

Leigh Russell said...

Growing pumpkins! If that was my book, they'd soon find a body in the vegetable patch!

Pat said...

Just think of your readers longing to follow what's happening to Geraldine.
Is it akin to leaving a comfort zone

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks Pat. I know what happens to Geraldine in Dead End and the book after that (quite sad) but after that who knows? I haven't written that yet!

Chris Stovell said...

Interesting question, Leigh, but first of all congratulations on your success and being so full of ideas for the future. Sometimes, I'm inhibited when the words that appear don't convey the image in my head - on the other hand sometimes I can be surprised and pleased by something I just wasn't expecting!

Marce said...

Leigh thanks for visiting my blog.

Guess what I actually have your book Cut Short on my Wishlist, I added it from Clarrisa's recommendation from Listen to the Voice. :-)

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Chris - I know what you mean about the words not expressing what you intend. It's very exciting when something goes well though, isn't it?

Leigh Russell said...

Thank you, Marce. I hope you enjoy it, and please let me know what you think.

iriz said...

Wow... I just admire people like you. It must have been a great feeling to have your own book published! Maybe because once, i also dream to write book. Congratulations and good luck! :)

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks, Iriz. It is quite exciting when your first book hits the shelves!

Rick said...

Hello, Leigh! Sorry to have been gone so long, but between writing, training, etc. and dealing with the plagiarist, my mind's been a bit overloaded.

By the time I'm nearing the end of a book, I usually hate it so much that my fingers feel too bloated to type. It's not the story I hate, it's going back and editing it. If I finish it, then throw it in the drawer for a few months, then it's not such an ordeal. By then the story has become like a relative living in my head that I'd like a break from!

Leigh Russell said...

I know what you mean, Rick. One has a duty to one's readers/publisher/agent etc but I get to the point I DON'T CARE! I just want to be done with the editing and start having fun writing my next book.