The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

…may well still be the light of an oncoming train, BUT at least there is some light now.

I’ve been wrestling with a novel on and off for three years (mostly off, if I’m honest, because I have a lot on my plate and short stories are so much easier to wrangle), but I keep coming back to it. It’s messy and ugly but every time I look at it, I have several moments where I go “Oh, I LIKE that!” and it makes me want to finish the damned thing.

The remarkable thing I’ve learned in the past three years is that the mess and ugliness is kind of essential. I actually sort of love it, mess and all. I can see potential in the ugliness. And I every time I come back to it, I get closer to solving the puzzle of how to get to the end.

There is a hugely messy part round about what will probably be the climax, that has, until now, tripped me up every time I come back to the book. I keep thinking “I’ve lost my way with this character.” But today — banging away at the problem — I had another couple of ‘aha’ moments that have got me excited about moving on past the point that has had me stuck. In fact, I’m prepared to throw away tens of thousands of words, too do that very thing. And the closer I get to the end, the more clearly I can see what I need to revise/add/change at the start. Instead of being depressing, the thought of throwing out old words is now exciting, because I can see what needs to go in their place. Maybe.

But anyway, it’s good.

I’m experimenting with writing out of order. I feel the need to write a scene that features two minor characters doing something important, even though I know other scenes will have to go in earlier in the book to make this scene make sense, but I don’t feel the need to write them first. Is this shocking, readers? Does it seem like cheating? Well, guess what? I’m betting every writer does it!

OK, so that’s my morning’s work. What have you done today, so far?