I’m 115,000 words through my current writing project The Nameless Queen, which I have affectionately and abbreviated-ly dubbed NQ for file-naming purposes.
I’m in Chapter 57, and things are rolling forward at a relatively good pace. In the next few weeks (barring complications), I should be able to put a lid on the first draft. Hopefully. There’s one little problem.
I know what the last scene in my book will be. I know everything that has led up to this point.
Yet I DO NOT know how in the good gracious grapes of wrath I’m going to get from where I’m at to where I want to end the book. AHHH.
- My characters are all in different places (which is fine except it’s a first person narrative, so my character doesn’t know crap about what’s going on outside).
- My villain is doesn’t want to monologue. This is a problem again because of the first person narrative. How can my reader get a fulfilling plot arc if she doesn’t know why important things are happening? Is there a good way to monologue?
- It looks increasingly unlikely that all of my loose threads are going to tie together neatly at the end. I’m not sure whether this is because of the sheer mass of threads or that it’s unnatural to tie them all up at once. BAHH
- I can’t decide how to have the villain defeated. Death by drama? Shameful exile? Incapacitation? Peace and pacifism? The possibilities are endless! And each and every one has a mile of implications as to the theme, character development, and resolution of the book.
The only thing I can do at this point is keep writing. I have to try to trust the character development that has already occurred, and I’ll see where the natural bend of the river takes me. Of course, if we might just follow that metaphor down a deadly waterfall onto sharp rocks.
Then again, all of my hemming and hawing might be pointless. The story might open up into the perfect ending.
Though, if history is a lesson, I expect the waterfall.
As much as I want the story to find its way like a toddling child, I’m not going to send that child in a blind boat down a river that might have a waterfall. Have the metaphors given you a headache yet?
Writing is a job, a sport, a hobby, and most importantly, a complete and total pain. It requires just as much hard book as collegiate literature analysis because it’s essentially reverse engineered literature analysis. When writers struggle with plot, we’re also struggling with theme, character development, and arc.
As writers, we ask ourselves questions like, if my character does this, then what does that mean when they have to do this later on? If my character picks this, then does that undermine the rising thematic focus of this? What does this say about my character’s obsession with this?
If it sounds hard, then that’s how you know you’re doing it right. Writing is hard. It’s also rewarding and complexly fascinating. Writing inspires the full spectrum of emotions, and it does so because the authors put time, thought, and a boat-load of effort into making it work.
Whether that means spending three weeks contemplating the green light of wanting or spending months rewriting a scene so it flows with the plot, effort is effort is time and thought.
So what am I going to do when I face the troubles of Point A to Point B plot insanity? I’m going to keep writing.
Anyone can write, but it’s the writers who actually write.