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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015



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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

Why is the last half so hard to write

I was over 40,000 words into my newest noir mystery, For Toil and Trouble. Things had started to slow down in my writing from an average of nearly 4,000 words a day to just over 3,000. I looked at my notes and the 200+ index cards that made up my outline and sighed. I’d just reached the point where the pacing and action dictated that I cut ten days out of the story’s timeline while still keeping all the action points and the significant things in place that occurred on weekends. I re-arranged cards, jotted new ones, inserted plot points and story ideas into different stacks, and then re-arranged the cards again.

For two days—valuable days in my writing world—I didn’t add a word to the manuscript. What was delaying me?

The answer hit me as I was once again looking at the cards, trying to find a specific plot point to move it to a different chapter.

I didn’t want to keep writing the story.

The problem was I knew what came next. I’d spent two weeks patiently building up the relationships, developing the characters, putting the obstacles in place that would drive them inevitably toward the conclusion. In the process, I’d fallen in love with my characters.

And I just didn’t want to put them through what came next.

I didn’t want to say goodbye to those who would not survive, nor feel the pain of those who did. I didn’t want to write the ending. When I did, it would be too late for them. I wanted to believe that like Schroedinger’s Cat, as long as I didn’t lift the lid on the box, all things were still possible. Once I lifted the lid, however, the outcome was determined. Dead or alive.

Now is the time that I have to face the page again and become the author. I moisten my pen, and determine fate.