Sunday, 25 September 2011

Writer's Block?

The MS for DEATH BED is with The Editor so I've been working on the next book, 5th in the Geraldine Steel series. My publisher wants to print the opening at the end of DEATH BED, which is no problem as I've nearly finished the 5th book. (We just need a title, so any suggestions will be gratefully received! I've already been sent quite a few on facebook. Thank you.)
Right now I want to share a few thoughts about the nearing-the-end-of-a-book syndrome I always experience at this stage.
With just 5 out of the 70 or so chapters still to write, I'm finding myself slowing down. I know what is going to happen, more or less, and the synopsis is written, more or less. (I say 'more or less', because I never know when something might crop up that changes things.)  It's pretty much sorted. All I need to do is settle down and finish writing it. 
Does anyone else experience the same slowing down as the end of a book approaches? I suppose it's a kind of writer's block, and it happens every time I am near the end of a book. 
There are number of reasons for this phenomenon. The book and its characters occupy the author's thoughts for a while and it can be hard for a writer to let go, like a mother seeing her child leave home.  It's worse than feeling reluctant to finish reading a book.  You can reread a book.  You can't rewrite one. At the same time, there's the anxiety that accompanies completing a MS. Throughout the writing process it's a work in progress, and the author's attention is all on the writing. Once it's finished, the questions inevitably start: 'Does it work?' 'Is it any good?' and 'What have I done?'
So what is the solution to this writer's block against finishing a MS? - apart from a publisher's deadline, which is a very effective cure for 'writer's block'!
The truth is, I have a cracking idea for the following book - 6th in the series - and I'm impatient to see how to make that work.  The joy of writing a series is that as soon as one book is completed, there's another one waiting to be written. 
That's what drives me on to finish a book once the end is just a few chapters away. Of course I owe it to Geraldine's fans, waiting to read my next novel, and to my publisher who has signed me up for three more books in the series.
But if I'm honest the real reason I can't delay finishing the WIP for long is that can't wait to get on with the next one!  Love that writing!

15 comments:

JO said...

Hang in there. Final chapters are always a challenge - will they be good enough? (Which translates as 'do they still love me?')

But they do. And the book will be finished, and then you can have a party. (Then the next one - oh joy!)

Guillaume said...

I often have writer's block when I blog. I always have plenty of story ideas and suffer the same problem: I know how it would start, how it would end, but the middle is muddled. I guess it is better for you to have a writer's block at the beginning than at the end of a book.

Debs Carr said...

You've done so incredibly well. It only seems like a couple of months ago that we were waiting for your first book to be published and now you're talking about your sixth. So fantastic.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Jo - oh the terror, 'Will they be good enough?' But yes, the book will be finished, and we will have a party! I hope lots of my blog friends will be able to come. I'll post the details here in due course and we'll have a good old bash!

Leigh Russell said...

Writer's block at the start of a book would be tough, Guillaume. How would you get going? I'm glad you always know where you are going to start.

Leigh Russell said...

Writer's block at the start of a book would be tough, Guillaume. How would you get going? I'm glad you always know where you are going to start.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Debs, time flies, doesn't it? Thank you so much for all your support. I hope you'll be able to join us at the launch party for Death Bed.

Charles Gramlich said...

Yeah, I always find endings tough. Almost always. But I enjoy the challenge. Luck!

Pat said...

Seems to me you are in a happy place.

Leigh Russell said...

Yes, Charles, that's a great attitude. And if we didn't enjoy the challenge, why would be writing?

Leigh Russell said...

I certainly count myself lucky, Pat, so I should be happy - and I am!

Leigh Russell said...

But I still haven't finished the WIP !

Star said...

How about 'No Direction' for a title? Since you don't give a clue to the content, that would probably cover it?
Writers Block - well yes, that is always in the background. Like all creative pursuits, I have moments of brilliance where I can't get the thoughts down fast enough. That is often followed by a mental block where my characters won't do anything, say anything or move my story forward.
Please tell me when you do your writing? Is it every day? and for how long? Do you set yourself a set number of words to write or is it just off the cuff?

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Star, nice to hear from you. Yes, I can't manage a day without writing, and when not physically writing, I'm often thinking about my WIP. It's quite exhausting! When I'm not at work, I'll try to write 2,000-5,000 words a day, depending on where I am in the story plan. Other than that, I do as much as I can, maybe 1,000-2,000 words a day. Sometimes more. Sometimes 0 if there's a lot else going on. It depends on how busy - and how tired - I am.

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