I know, okay? I get it.
It’s become too much of a motif around here, this procrastination, this failure to complete, this inability to batten the last hatches. If writing my novel has been a marathon, I’ve snapped an ankle in the last mile. Or maybe sprained it. Or maybe I just tripped and fell and I’m only really really tired, and every scratch feels like a gash, and every shallow breath is a gasp. But that’s no excuse for not slogging myself across the line.
There isn’t much left to do. There really isn’t. I can only belabor the point so much. I can only pretend for so long that I’m stuck on an issue — this character isn’t working out so well, or that plot turn doesn’t feel quite right — before the truth bubbles to the surface like an eyeball in your soup: that I’m not stuck on an issue within the novel, I’m stuck on finishing the novel.
Because that’s all there is. This first edit has drawn on like an endless summer, and I’m bogged down just a mile from the finish line. The car’s blown a tire and there’s no phone service, and even stepping foot out into the sun has me sweat-soaked and exhausted. The prospect of knuckling up and walking it out to the finish has me dreaming of shade trees and ice-cold lemonade.
The last issue is this one character. I don’t know what to do with her, and I could conceivably go back and write her into a few more scenes or write her out of the novel completely… it honestly makes no difference to me at this point. I’m almost ready to hand the manuscript off to some beta readers (a term that never made sense to me… I mean, I guess I’d be the alpha reader, but does that really make sense? Anyway…) and just let them tell me what to do with her, but then I know it’s probably not a professional move to hand off a work with glaring, unresolved issues and expect other people to fix them for me.
But even more than I’m frustrated at my block about finishing this thing, I’m even more frustrated at the prospect of not finishing it. I didn’t come this far; I didn’t write 90,000 words and then re-write about a third of them; to give up now. I can smell the blistered pork of the hot dogs, taste the swirled sticky sugar of the cotton candy. (What? It’s totally gonna be a carnival when I finish.) No, I’m going to finish this damn novel if I have to crawl across the line dragging two dead, broken legs behind me.
And sooner rather than later. Because I’m a little bit burned on it.
Not that that’s not glaringly obvious or anything.
*Removes cobweb from eyebrow*
3 thoughts on “Broken Ankle at the Finish”
Don’t farm it out to beta readers. But DO talk about it with at least one person who you trust. I know I’m way behind you, but when I was stuck on an issue, I talked to a family member who had never read the story or anything. Just talked through the problem – she offered the start of a solution; and voila! Suddenly I found the answer I wanted which had been staring me in the face the whole time….
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The problem is, I’m beset by too many solutions ALL the time and I can’t choose the right one!
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[…] bound up the sprained ankle I mentioned in my last post — you know, the one where I stepped in a literary pothole — and heaved myself bodily […]