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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

PROGRESS REPORT #57: TYING UP LOOSE ENDS

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL MY BLOGGER FRIENDS
and
HAPPY AND SUCCESSFUL WRITING IN THE NEW YEAR




As the year draws to a close, it's time to tie up loose ends, the unfinished business of 2009 so there will be a clean slate to begin the New Year, 2010.

I have set a goal to write THE END on my novel by the last day of December, 2009. Of course, because I am working under a deadline it makes the task seem harder than usual. The only way I will achieve my goal is to make sure I write a bit each day, and so far I've managed to do that. However, I'll be away over the Christmas holidays so at the best I'll just make notes. This means that next week (from the 28th) there's going to be a big push on to finally finish it.

It seems more complicated now, although I took time to sit down and carefully map my way, untangle the time-lines with all the plots and sub-plots. Now I'm tying up the loose ends so there won't be any gaps in the story (holes in the tapestry). I realize some things can be left ambiguous, but others need some kind of conclusion.

It's like the end of an affair, really. I'm saying goodbye to friends, people I've created or those (historical) who I've breathed life into. And some of them I love very much. So I don't want to leave the reader feeling as if the last chapter of the story was ripped out of the book -- the way some affairs end (at least, one of mine did!). Of course, when I finish, and go back to do the final editing and cutting on this huge manuscript, I will have a clearer picture of how I have woven the tapestry, and if there are mistakes, I can correct them. For now, I want to finish but just like I'm weaving on a loom, I don't want to drop any of the threads and spoil the pattern.

So this is the way I am working: I go through what I've written, see if there is anything missing. Yes? Then I map out a scene to add. Just like I'm filling in pieces of a jig-saw puzzle, I can see where I need to add something. And I make notes. Then I work at the computer. Then I edit. Then I go back and do the same. I'll eventually workshop each of the new scenes and then go back to do more edits/adds/deletes. But at least, if I can write THE END by December 31, I'll feel as though I have accomplished one of the biggest, most important projects of my life so far.

What then? Then I will go back to my Celtic novel, the one that has been sitting in a box waiting for me to complete Shadow of the Lion, and I will try to finish it for next year's project.










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Saturday, December 19, 2009

PROGRESS REPORT # 56 : MAPPING YOUR PATH

AMPHIPOLIS



I used this illustration because this is where I am now, and this is where my story ends. I am only four chapters from the finish and most of that is already written. But coming to the end is not easy. If you leave holes in the tapestry, it will spoil the pattern. So you have to tie up the loose ends. It's okay if some things are left somewhat ambiguous, but you need to make sure that the small details are dealt with: characters can't just 'vanish' off the map. Where are they now? What will (or might) happen to them?

So I had to stop, look at the "map", see where I was going for the last four chapters. Where are the gaps? (I found a couple.) What do I need to add to clarify certain actions/scenes? And how much?

This kind of break in the action slows you down and makes you pause for thought. So I had to take a careful look at the last bit: time-lines, completion of scenes and episodes, all the time remember that I must not let the tension falter because even though I know how the story ends, I don't want to give it away too soon to the reader.

This little pause helped me to see things more clearly. Where I am heading. what needs to be added to complete the pattern of the tapestry.

Four almost completed chapters and two weeks to "THE END". Can I do it?


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