Time for some honesty. I struggle to finish drafts.
It’s not the word count or finding the time that hurts me. I just can never find the right way to end my story and do it justice. I talk a little bit more about how I’ve failed at doing this in my first NaNoWriMo post, My NaNoWriMo Plotting Process.
The third week of NaNoWriMo just finished, and we’re in the end game. I’m 79,597 words into this manuscript (43360 for NaNoWriMo). I’m far above my original goal of 70k and while it’s looking like I’ll exceed my updated goal of 85k by at least a couple thousand, I’m in the last few chapters. Which means it’s time to work on ending my book.
Endings are hard. You put so much time and effort into this story, you get to know these characters and their lives, do the best you can to give them the conclusion you think is fit, and then you have to say goodbye.
The goodbye isn’t forever– revisions are necessary for every book– but I personally hate leaving the drafting stage. When you start a book, there’s so much potential. It can be anything. Maybe I’ll write beautifully. Maybe my characters will take a life of their own. Maybe I’ll be able to come up with plot twists that will make readers gasp. But ending a manuscript means accepting what your story has become.
There are endless plot threads I never got to weave in. Themes I never explored to the extent I wanted to. A quarter of my words are misspelled and I’m not even sure my writing can be called English anymore considering how I massacred proper grammar.
I hold myself to these high standards, that my novel has to be perfect, but no first draft is a masterpiece. Yes, you need to accept what your story became in the drafting stage. You can’t just delete the file or burn the pages. You need to look at what you’ve written, plot holes and all, and be proud, because it’s something to be proud of. Accept your draft, and remember you can revise it later (and open up an entirely new set of insecurities).
I’ve always been too afraid to accept what I’ve written. Because of that, I would do everything I could to avoid giving my books the endings they deserve. I didn’t want it to end, because then I would have to look back at my book and see what a mess it was.
Not this year.
I’ll see you all at the finish line, with my ugly mess of a draft, and I’ll have an ending that I’m proud of.
Are you close to your novel’s ending? What’s your favorite final line of a book?
Check out my latest NaNoWriMo post here:
Halfway Through NaNoWriMo 2018 & How To Stay Motivated