And it has nothing at all to do with me double booking the Friday slot at all. Nope, nuh-huh.
My Very special Friends Thursday spot goes to my good friend and awesome editor Will Belegon. We’ve known each other for years and I can assure you this guy writes some brilliantly hot erotic romance. You can check him out at his blog and here he is to tell us about the hardest thing. I hope that it is as rude as it sounds!
The Hardest Thing
I have a shirt, given to me by some dear friends, that says a writer’s favorite words are “Chapter One.” Because it is a sweatshirt and white, it rarely gets worn. (I am not often in that stage between jacket and tee shirt, and I also seem to have a talent for dripping coffee on white shirts.) However, it remains in the closet, accessible for when I want it. Part of this is because it serves as a reminder of people dear to me, but another part is that I really do adore those words.
The words I have a problem with are at the other end of the manuscript. The End.
I love the process of new ideas. The first time a character springs into my mind is wonderful. And I love getting to know them and what interests them. I’m the kind of writer some of my friends in the business call a pants-er, as in “by the seat of my.” It means I write without a solid outline and let things flow. Sometimes I know the destination before the journey starts, sometimes I don’t. And often I think I know but find that it has changed somewhere between when I left and when I arrived.
It allows for great twists and turns, for those sudden moments when everyone is surprised. Including the author. On occasion, I have written a twist that made me go back and change things, but usually I find that some obscure center in my brain had anticipated this possibility and that nothing I wrote previously contradicts my new direction.
However, there is a danger to this style. If an outline exists, you know where you are going and you simply have to figure out how to get there. Some very detailed plotters even know each step and how they occur. For these writers, the great advantage is that it is harder to get stalled by story.
Not that they can’t stall. I don’t believe there is a serious writer on the planet that hasn’t had at least some experience with the dreaded “writer’s block,” even if the experience was of a fleeting sort.
I have manuscripts dating as far back as 2004 that are in that much dreaded classification, the Work In Progress. And each of them seems to have a different reason for its presence there. My first attempt at a novel, which I still believe has a wonderful plot, has undergone multiple revisions as I have had the idea to work on it and found that, in the intervening months or years, my craft has advanced to the point where this thing needs a good edit. But by the time I’ve done that and added a chapter or two, I’ve lost my way again. And there are a dozen other works in the same file, although each has a different story for how it got there and why it isn’t finished.
The end. The most elusive words in this writers vocabulary.
I have two pieces that are the most in need of finishing (neither is that first work.) Both are basically sold already. There is no signed contract for either, but the intent is there and I know the publishers in questions are still interested. Both already have endings, though not outlines on how to reach the conclusion save for a few necessary events that I know I must fit in along the way.
One or both of these needs to be finished by the end of the year. By the end of October would be even better. So why aren’t they done? Am I lazy? No, one needs merely to examine my overburdened daily schedule to know that isn’t the case. Am I too busy then? No, for I find time to watch a movie or a TV show on DVD every so often, thus there must be time to write as well.
The reason eludes me. But I need to find it.
Will Belegon is a writer living in the mountains in the United States. He finds time to study Taekwondo, play videogames and drink way too much whiskey and wine. He also occasionally finds time to edit for other writers, including the author of this blog. Somewhere in the next couple of months, he will find time to type the end on a new novel the same way he is about to on this blog post.
Thanks Will, I wish you every success and hope you’ll come back and visit again soon!