I have now written the last piece of the plot of my W.I.P. and have only a chapter or so of ‘loose ends’ to tidy up. Am I celebrating? Actually, no. Because I find writing the act of finishing a novel a strangely vicarious pleasure. Last time it proved no pleasure at all, but more an uncomfortable act of separation. I wrote nothing for several weeks afterwards.
Even now as I realise that the end (and not quite the end I had planned) is in sight for Ailsa, I can feel a bit of a dark moment creeping over me. This time I do have other projects to attend to, but I feel sure that when I have written the last sentence I won’t want to go back to this book for quite some time. I could of course simply finish it of and send it out for critiquing, but I already know there are elements of the first section which need to be changed. Sending it out ‘warts and all’ doesn’t feel quite right. On the other hand, waiting until the spirit moves me to go back to it could result in a long gap – good for the book, perhaps, but not in line with the target I have set myself of having a finished article in time for this year’s Winchester conference.
Foreseeing this difficulty, I have come up with a cunning plan. I am going to hold back from that last chapter and attempt to do my tidying now. Having reached the end in my head, I should be able to see how the plot as a whole shapes up and, with this in mind, I have rewritten my synopsis. It looks, I think, pretty tidy, except that the novel itself doesn’t quite match – so some work to do there!
This experimental game (of pretending not to be finished) may not work. Perhaps I’m too close to it to make a decent job of rejigging it at this point. But I think it’s worth a try. If all else fails I can revert to my original file and try again later.
If you want to know the outcome, watch this space!