Dying on the Table

I’ve been postponing something pretty serious that I really need to do. It’s something that my loved ones have all encouraged me to take care of because they tell me it’ll be fine. Except that they don’t really know what they’re talking about and I am terrified of what “just getting it over with” entails.

It’s time I finish my novel.

Back in 2012 I took part in NaNoWriMo and wrote The Many Worlds of Charlie Ocean (Preview). I was a naive, rosy-cheeked fledgling writer with hopes and dreams for the future. It was my first attempt at NaNoWriMo and when my caffiene fuelled husk finished typing the last word a day early, I was thrilled. Unfortunately, in my haste to finish, I may have made some sub-par plot decisions. Eager to carry the momentum forward, I began editing immediately. Personally, I thought I could turn it around in a few weeks and come January 1 2013 I would be a best-seller. Oh to be so young and innocent again.

I have a feeling that the agents, editors, and publishers on my twitter feed were only half joking when they threatened to shred any NaNoWriMo manuscript of query letter that came down the pipes hours into December. At first I thought this was a little hyperbolic surely there were some novels (like mine) that were nearly perfect and just needed a little work.

Then, more objectively, I realized that no, 30 days of writing with abandon probably doesn’t produce a solid novel. Even if we’re forgiving spelling and grammar mistakes, 30 days is not the greatest amount of time to produce a masterpiece.

Since then I’ve had several friends (and now former friends) read and provide feedback on it. There was some glowing comments (which are dangerous for a budding megalomaniac like myself) but there was also a LOT of helpful, but less-positive feedback. Some people thought the ending seemed rushed. Some suggested I could get rid of unnecessary characters. Some even criticised my use of crayon to write a novel.

Just kidding, everyone thought that the crayon was awesome.

I reread it, edited some sections, cleaned up the grammar and removed typos but there was still one glaring issue that I have been dragging my heels with.

The end.

I need to rewrite most of the ending, and it’s tough. It’s not that I don’t have an idea about how it will end. The problem is that it’s just the barebones. Anything beyond the basic plot points are a little hazy especially since I’ve put it off for so long. At this point I have to reopen the novel like a chest cavity and surgically cut and stitch.

“What if there are complications? What if you remove the heart and the whole novel just hemmorages onto the table?” My inner Debbie Downer whispers. While it entertains me to imagine my novel as a chest-bursted cast member in Alien, the doubts are valid. I’m not an expert and my major claim to being a writer is that I’ve dubbed myself thusly. Despite my best efforts, editing isn’t always my greatest strength.

With that said, I have to try.

In the end, I’ve decided that this weekend will be my weekend. I’ll be taking Friday off and disappearing into a rural-enough area to finally get it done. It’s 100+ pages, but I need for this chapter to end. Even if the ending is garbage and needs a rewrite.

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: First Drafts… | Advice Ignored

  2. Pingback: Query Shark: Please Don’t Eat Me | Advice Ignored

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