Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Getting to The End: 4 Tips

Man. Although I technically won my competitive little contest with my friend Mike Chen, I also kind of lost. Because Mike actually finished his book before I did. In fact I floundered for quite a while. Mind you, I beat our word count goal wayyyyy ahead of him, but he finished first. (Easy to finish first when your word count is much lower than mine, but whatevers.) To recap: Mike and I had a competition to push us to finish our WIPs by the end of the year. My word count and output was always WAY HIGHER than his, but what ended up happening was that my book was much longer than his, so he finished first.

I was probably 3000 or so words away from typing those two sweet little words: The End. I got waylaid by New Years and vacation and a few sudden life changes. So I was distracted. But I wasn't, really. Because nothing distracts me from my passion to write--and I really like this current story.

So, why couldn't I finish? I knew the resolution, and I knew what the characters need to do. But getting there was tough. I could have really used the challenge of beating Mike Chen to finish, but SOMEBODY (mainly named Mike Chen) decided to wimp out and end early.

You ever have this problem? Getting to the end? Never one to sit, I did a little looky-looing around the tinterweb, and here are some tips I found:

1. Use writing sprints.
Writing sprints are group-style timed events where you sit for a specific time and length, and just write. Twitter has one or you can start your own on Twitter or with someone.

2. Use the NaNo method.
Just write and see what happens, and don't pay attention to plot. Just let it flow.

3. Make yourself write 100 words a day, at least.
Hey, it'll inch you towards your goal, and you might find yourself back in the slipstream of the writing that way.

Alas, none of the above actually worked for me. But here's what did:

4. Free-form write what you think should happen.
To get past whatever block I had going, I started typing, as though I was telling a friend (me) the story. I started with "OMG, so, X tells X this and then she..." taking away the novel format. It was like a kick in the pants, because the more I typed, I noticed I started falling right back into the story. It worked to get me over the hump.

You guys have any other ideas? Commiserations? Crowing that you don't have this problem ever? Do tell.

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