I finally finished the second draft of my novel. I’m so excited to be at a place where it looks and feels like a book. The turning point for this draft came during a session with my writing group. After days, and even weeks of trying and procrastinating, I finally just sat down, wrote, and the ending came out.
I knew I needed a new closing for the book, but I was challenged by a lack of creativity for how I should express the things that needed wrapping-up. I don’t like it when the last chapter of a book feels like a let-down, so I was worried about giving that experience to my readers. I got around the worry by making a list of all the things the last chapter had to accomplish and then letting the list go. Not literally, the list didn’t hit the floor, but I let go of the idea that I had to control how those things would enter the chapter. I remembered that I write best when I just sit down and let it happen. Apparently letting myself relax and just write was the ticket to success…again. I wish those realizations would come faster when I’m struggling, but I will take the gift whenever it arrives.
Knowing what is missing, but not how to add that missing piece is often harder than not knowing what to write. The intimidation can paralyze your creativity. To get around this intimidation start by making a list. An non-creative, uninspiring list of things you want to accomplish in your scene. For example my list looked like this:
- Tell the reader that Mary was physically injured.
- Tell the reader about the main character’s emotional burden related to work and the airplane.
- Work in the theme to the ending.
- Reference the lack of the protagonist physically, but not in spirit.
- Indicate the main character is willing to give up her job and her plan, she is still giving away control in her life.
Read your list several times, then go hide it. Put it away so you can’t see it and be intimidated by your own goals. Then pick up a pen and ask yourself why the scene is happening? Not why you need to get the information out. Not why the scene is where it is in your story, but why, from the character’s point of view, we find ourselves in this place in the story.
Without worrying about how your writing will fit into the story, or the voice of your writing, answer the “why”. You may find that your inner writer takes over and you produce the scene you are looking for, or you may find that you produce a great guide to the scene, but either way the exercise can help guide you through the intimidation of the scene. Aim to spend thirty minutes telling yourself “why”.