Friday, July 25, 2008

10,000 reasons not to write

I have ten thousand reasons not to write today and 1-9,999 are not that my eight month old has appropriated my laptop as his new toy. Or tried to. I am fiercely protective of it.

Hm. Of her. I just decided my laptop is a girl and her name is Bootsie Smythe-Winterford, because she is finicky today. Some days she is called Susan or Jody, but not on high maintenance days. Today is one of those days (go away, Windows Live Mesh update). However, I am careful to treat her gently or else I fear revolt and then I would have to call her things that are barely thinkable and definitely not printable.

No, my ten thousand reasons not to write are the last ten thousand words in my manuscript. The ideas are not the problem. I know exactly where the plot is going (which is more than I can say for when I started). I know these characters intimately, I have the voice down cold, and I'm excited to give these characters the happy ending they deserve. The problem?

Here's an image to blow your mind: in Lois Duncan's Stranger With My Face, (I read this in 8th grade), a character explains that if you had a granite wall that was ten thousand miles long and ten thousand miles high and a bird came by and brushed it with its wing once every ten thousand years, by the time it eroded, that would be like one second of eternity.

That's about how these last ten thousand words are going.

Which is weird because I'm writing them a million times faster than the first ten thousand words, when I didn't know my characters very well and had only a vague sense of what would happen. I'm averaging 1,500 words a day and they're coming pretty easily. And yet every time I chisel at my word count granite, I feel like I'm wielding nothing more than a feather and the end of the story will never come.

I know I'm only guessing what my final word count will be, but I doubt very much that my projected 80,000 will suddenly morph into 110,000 while I blink and try to figure out why. This feels like an 80,000-ish word story and I've actually got less than 7000 words to go. So...

I think these last words are going slow for a couple of reasons. One is that I'm anxious to get to rewrites because I know where the flaws are now. But I won't let myself do that because revisions are often my excuse for not advancing the plot so I have placed a temporary ban on them. Another reason I think it's going slowly is because like the hour before bedtime on Christmas Eve, time warps and stretches when you really want something. And I really want to say I finished my novel. This is one of the biggest goals I've ever set for myself and I can't wait to acheive it.

No, really...I can't wait.

And maybe the last reason I'm seeing these last ten thousand words yawn before me is because although I love these characters and had fun telling this story, I've got another one percolating that I want to start and it seems just a tidge more exciting to me right now. I'm totally cheating on my current characters with my future characters in my imagination.

But this WIP is taking forever! So I guess I better go take another swipe with my feather because like it or not, it's the only way the last ten thousand words are going away.


Kimberly said...

Maybe drop the feather and pick up a sledge hammer?

I do so know what you mean! When I did Nanowrimo last year and had that deadline looming, the last words took the longest by far. I didn't want to end it and yet I desperately wanted to end it. Such a muddled time.

charrette said...

My problem is I always have 10,000 reasons not to paint! (So glad I don't have to deal with word counts.)