I’ve gotten all the way through the editing and am now faced with having to gut the final quarter of this book. I knew it was coming, what with the changing earlier scenes to make Quinn and Wyatt more active. But I didn’t know how encompassing those alterations would become as the end drew near. What I initially thought would be a new chapter and a few modifications to support it has turned into me having to print the final twelve chapters and annihilate them; they just don’t fit with the rest of the novel anymore. I’ve taken the pages, highlighted all the information I’d like to keep, and then transferred the facts to my blessed index cards (God, I love whoever invented those things). A newly created stack of cards sits nearby, holding my notes on what I’m going to add, keeping track of all of those small changes that have grown larger, spawning additional bits of information like bunnies in a cage.
It’s all there. All I have to do is incorporate the two. But I haven’t. Even though I did it before, spreading out my stacks of cards in front of me and then reassembling them in the correct chronological order, even though this time is a much smaller assemblage of facts, those damn cards just sit at the edge of this desk, mocking my impotency. And I think I know why. I’m not sure I’m the master of my own ending. That’s pretty bad to admit, right? But, it’s been with me all along. Writing the original (now trashed) ending also brought with it the same fear — the intense wash of foreboding that made me think I’d somehow missed some crucial plot point, that single overlooked fact that will cause my entire story to unravel like a cheap sweater.
So many books and courses will emphasize the essentiality of first ten pages of the story, and tell tales of the difficulty in getting those initial paragraphs down. Don’t get me wrong, they’re very, very important. But, at least for me, the ending is by far more torturous. With four point-of-view characters and six sub-plots, I’ve got a lot of loose ends flapping away in the breeze. I’m just worried I’ll miss one (or five). But, I’ll never find out if I can do it if those cards stay where they are.
It’s a nasty, rainy day. A good day to plop down on the floor and stare at the pastel-hued cards with barely legible writing scrawled across them. A good day to get my ass in gear and begin the end — again.