Reflection · Writer's Block · Writing Process · Writing Style

Will This Story Ever End?


Ever had a bang-up start to your story, only to have it crawling on its last legs toward the finish? Well, that’s what my WIP, Little Rooms is doing right now. In fact, I feel like I belong in a little room with padding. And pills. Just to get through it. Why is typing The End so excruciatingly difficult this time?

What makes a story joyful to write, or terrible to get through? I often wonder when I hear famous writers talk about slogging through what eventually became a best-seller. I think that the stories we love to write — that we hunger for every day — are outlets for our fantasies and curiosities. We want to see where the rabbit hole goes, and the stories, along with their amazing characters, pull us through.

Ah, if it was always so lovely. After whipping through A Place In This Life and SWELL with a lovey-dovey heart, I started Little Rooms. The main character, Nicole, is a strong-willed high school senior, hell-bent on going to USC and doing whatever it takes to get there. But when she meets Isaiah, a hottie delinquent transfer who becomes the student she tutors (and pizza delivery guy, among other things), all bets are off that she can keep her good girl facade at bay.

Now, this might sound like a fun story to write, but it’s been particularly difficult. I don’t know why. Am I not in love with my characters? Do they scare me? In some ways, yes. However, I’m still curious and excited to follow them to the end (which is going to take place in about a week). It could be that I’m tired from writing and editing copy during the day. Yeah, I’m out of words. Nope, maybe it’s something else.

There’s always the possibility that Nicole and Isaiah just aren’t Nally and Todd, or the triangular trio of Beck, Christian and Jesse. I wish I could hold those characters to my heart forever, but I had to let them go when I put the cap on their stories. Moving on to something new has been difficult, and I gather this is probably why I feel so… draggerschmidt (just picture it).

Whatever the reason, the discipline is there to keep going and create a story that moves the reader. Thank God for that, because after many months, it feels like my shoes are worn-out and my keyboard is due to leave on a trip to Hawaii in three days.

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6 thoughts on “Will This Story Ever End?

  1. After following your blog and your Twittering (I’m not stalking you, I swear) I feel invested in Little Rooms already! Finish it!

    I wonder if that drag that comes at the end of a story (and yes, I’ve felt it) is subconscious dread that the story is going to be what it’s going to be. The potential is over. The fact is upon you. Or maybe it’s just knowing editing ahead!

    What I find especially tough is that furrough between old project/new project when you just don’t know where to put your feet. I guess the pay off is that surge of the next big story. Good luck!

  2. I get excited outlining and starting a novel, and then the excitement dies, and then it starts up again. What helps me is stepping away from the manuscript for a few weeks. Then when I come back to it, I’m back to my fast typing and quick ideas.

    Also, if the topic, a character or a scene is difficult, I might slow down. So when I take a break from the novel, I’ve had time to think things through.

  3. Julie,
    I am right there with you. I’m roughly 20,000 words from the end and I’m tired of writing on this story. Not tired of writing. I have another story on the fringes teasing me to dump what I’m working on and play with it. I’d really like to find a way over this hump and get this story finished. This is new to me as my other stories have been a race to the finish. And with this one is driving me nuts. I figure I’ve taken a wrong turn but can’t figure out where. I don ‘t usually do an outline, but after this my next story will have one.
    Tiffinie

    1. Hey Tiffinie!

      Sounds exactly like my situation. This is the Hero’s Journey WIP! LOL!

      With all of the suggestions about taking a break from the WIP on here, I think I will. Wanna break with me?

      – Julie

  4. I’d take a break from it.

    Or if you are having trouble with the ending, like maybe you’ve reached a fork in the road where the story could go a couple different ways I’d think through each way, maybe do a couple of mini outlines for the last stretch of your book and see what happens. I did this w/one of my books. Didn’t write anything for a few days and just thought it thru–it helped me to see where I was going.

    Another idea, focus on the character and let the character drive the plot. I know all this stuff is easier said than done. I hope you get some clarity soon!! Good luck!

    1. Thank you, Paul. I was thinking about taking a break from it, letting it simmer (as Medeia suggested). If I step away for a bit, I know things will gel. Right now, I’ve got a new story making me crazy (I want to start it) and I think I’ll do a little work on that before returning to Little Rooms.

      – Julie

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