The Home Stretch

Somewhere I read that the last 20% of a novel is the hardest part to write. I’m believing that I concur.

Part of it is because you say goodbye to the freshness of your characters–after this it’s all editting and revising. Doesn’t seem like there’s any new surprises. (Unless you want to keep writing the same book for the next twenty years….)

Another part is the ‘cleaning up’ process. The first half of a novel is about making a mess. The second half is about cleaning that mess up. As anyone with small children (or anyone who has even vaguely seen a small child) knows, making the mess is infinitely easier than cleaning it up. At the end, there has to be a resolution. A raison d’etre.

Right now, I know how it ends. The question is whether or not I can pull it off. Does anyone else know how to handle this? Or should I shut up and just do it?


jenny maloney View All →

Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.

4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Just do it. Do what you can with what you’ve got, and you can always go back and fix it later (after all, isn’t that the idea behind having guinea pig readers?). I would much rather have a messy ending than none, (as I wait for you to do it perfectly).

  2. I wouldn’t say shut up to you ever, but you just gotta do it. Remember it is a first draft and it’s okay to make that “run for the barn.” You read draft one of MMG. End was pretty quick. Not a lot of how Kitty got there. But that may be the easiest fix I have. You are an incredible writer. Your spew is better than 99% of people’s polish. Let those wonderful characters you created reach the places they need to. You’re going to put them away for a while so when you visit them again, it will be almost like the first time but with that nice glow of recognition. Then you can tweak what needs tweaking.And fresh eyes for next revision is a great idea–although I know I’m going to be jealous.

  3. Deb, I think that was the best/most interesting compliment anyone has ever paid me: that my *spew* is better than 99% of people’s polish. I might have to put that one on a plaque….

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