Friday, October 19, 2007

COVER TO COVER: Reaching 'The End'

With the bulk of my books, once I'm heading towards the end scene, the words are tumbling out so fast my fingers can barely keep up.
My characters are aching to get their happily-ever-after.
They need resolution.
And I want to tie up all those niggly loose ends I've created throughout the book.

So what's happening with COURTING CUPID?
Strangely enough, after writing half the book in a fortnight, the end is coming slowly. Very slowly. Try 2500 words all week when I usually write that in a night.
Now I'll explain why.

Ever had that feeling right before an important exam where you've studied your heart out, know everything there is to know, yet just before you enter the exam hall or turn the exam over, your mind goes blank?
Well, that's what has happened to me this week.

I've been so wrapped up in maintaining tension throughout this book, upping the stakes with each scene, that now I've reached the end and Blane and Camryn have the opportunity to resolve their differences, my mind has blanked.
There is so much that needs to be tied up all nice and tidily in one neat book that my brain is refusing to co-operate.
So how to get around it?

Step 1: Write.
May sound simplistic but that's exactly what I have to do: write. Let the words flow. Do what I've done for the rest of the book. I can always go back and fix and layer later. Can't fix a blank page, huh?

Step 2: Focus on obvious resolution.
Work on one problem at a time. Don't stress about tying up the rest of the loose ends. Leave this for the first revision pass, where you can jot down the threads that need tying as you re-read the book and follow up at the end.

Step 3: Think happy thoughts.
My characters have waited all book for this, all 50 000 words to get their HEA. Don't cheat them. Make this scene a cracker so you leave your readers craving more (and rushing out to the bookstore when your next release hits the shelves!)

Step 4: The fantasy of romance.
We all love sigh-worthy romantic endings but if you've had a strong conflict throughout the book, resolving differences isn't always easy. Therefore, concentrate on making this final scene real. If all can be solved with a simple conversation, then the odds are your conflict throughout the book hasn't been strong enough. Hence my difficulty in getting Blane and Camryn on the same page here...a good thing with regards to conflict, a frustrating thing when I want this book finished!

Step 5: Finish at all costs.
I like my books to flow in one, cohesive block. I don't jump around from scene to scene (though many writers do.) I write the first draft in one go then go back and layer.
With COURTING CUPID, now that I'm a tad 'stuck', I want to go back and read the whole lot again before finishing the book, but I won't. Why?

I want the ending to be instinctive, like the rest of the book has been. I want it flow on from the last scene, and not be contrived from something I've written earlier. I want it to be a natural resolution of everything that has happened before.
Plenty of time to tweak later.

Hoping to put all this into practice and finish the book tonight. But don't worry, that's not the end of this series. Plenty more to come!


Barb said...

I often find endings hard, Nic. I think it has something to do with the fact that every romance ends with the couple resolving their conflict and admitting their true feelings and finding a way that's new and fresh and true to the character's situation. It's a big challenge, which gets harder, rather than easier.

Nicola Marsh said...

So true, Barb.
I found this one much harder than most, which is interesting. I think because the conflict seemed more rock-solid than other books? Not sure...