(This posting originally appeared on The Melt-Ink Pot)
(I know, I know. This is actually last Thursday’s posting, running a little late again. I’ll try to do tomorrow’s on time…)
So here I am, closing in on the end of my current Work In Progress, the second volume of the now four-volume Winterbourne trilogy. (I know. Shut up.) And, as usually happens at this point in a story, I just really really want to be done with it. I love these characters, love spending time with them, love making their lives ever-so-interesting. But even loving them as I do, there comes a time when I just want their story out of my head and down on paper (or at least in electronic bits), and to say that it is finished.
I want to spend a little time with some of my other stories and characters, and spend some time editing (because Inner Editor has been more-or-less on a leash since November, and she’s getting REALLY cranky). So part of me is tempted to just get it done any old way, so I can set it aside for a while and use my few brain cells for other things for a few weeks.
But of course, the other part of me wants to get it right. I know it can (and will) be edited later, but I have to at least capture the essence of each scene, even if the details change. There are seeds I need to plant for later development, and I have to make sure I at least get them in there, even if I want to bury them a little deeper before the story sees the light of day. And one of the few remaining scenes I have to write is a confrontation between Celia Winterbourne and her father. There are reasons why the two sides are mutually incompatible, and no compromise can be reached. My challenge is to present it so that neither side appears to be totally unreasonable or overly emotional. Nor can either side appear to give in. (Yes, that “appear to” is very important.) At least not until the very final scene of the story.
So in some respects, I feel as though I still have a long way to go, while in others, I can almost reach out and touch the end of the long dark tunnel of this story. It makes me feel like a little kid in the back seat of my parents’ station wagon again, asking every five minutes, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?!”
And Mom keeps answering, “Five more minutes.”
I just wish I could tell, at this point, whether it’ll be worth the trip. Because, yes, I have also reached the point where I’m certain the entire story sucks and no one would ever want to read it. It happens. I’m aware that it happens. That doesn’t keep it from happening.
What sorts of challenges do other people face in completing a story? Are endings easy or hard? Are we there yet?
(Anyone care to take a guess as to what the final word count for this story will be? Hint: > 150,000 words and < 200,000. Yes, really.)