Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What I’ve Learned Wednesday: Where’s the End

The End. That’s what a book concludes with, right? While writing a book, the ending (I will call him Chuck), decides to take a vacation but never tells you the destination. While Chuck is on holiday, he didn’t leave you a phone number, email address, twitter name, nothing! He just skipped town, leaving you struggling to finish your story. All the while, you eat pounds and pounds of chocolate (at least that’s that's what I do). Eventually, Chuck returns and wonders why you look so disheveled and exhausted.

You tenderly take Chuck in your arms and say, “It’s ok. I finished the story without your help. I made you better than you were to begin with. Now, you owe me big time!”

So, your story is finished. It’s sparkling, glittering, like a vampire. Hehe!

Right now, I want to finish my book more than anything, but Chuck keeps wriggling his way out of my fingers. And what do you know; I’ve decided to do a huge overhaul on my manuscript. Yep, Chuck is so not in sight anymore. He is being very naughty, much like a puppy. I can’t teach him to stay, or to come, or to poop outside. What am I to do with the little Chuckster? Just keep working until he obeys, I guess.

What I’m alluding to is: Writing sometimes feels like a long road with a mirage glistening in the distance. You think you can catch up to it, but you can’t. It keeps lingering in the distance, taunting you while it sneers and wickedly laughs at you.

But Chuck, the end of writing your story, will come. It can be caught, tied into a beautiful, perfect story. Well, more perfect than you ever thought it would be. How do I know this fact when I’m only working on my first book? I know it because I’ve been to libraries, and book stores, and I’ve read a lot books. Those books are physical examples that Chuck can be wrangled in. The end of writing, editing, revising, and rewriting your story is within your grasp. Finishing your book takes perseverance and time, with an added couple hundred cups of patience, too.

Follow the rainbow until you reach it, finding your pot o’ gold—your finished, stunning book.

Have you ever felt like Chuck’s left you stranded? How do you cope during these times?

PS: Don't forget to enter to win an ARC of DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth on my blog. Follow this link to fill out the entry form. Good Luck!


  1. My Chuck doesn't leave me stranded... mine rushes at me like a football player. It's tackle or be tackled with my Chuck. I find myself in trouble in the middle of my story where it feels like all my characters randomly go on holiday. So, I know how you feel there. :)

  2. Yes my Chuck leaves me scratching my head quite often!! He leaves me when I need him the most drat that Chuck :o)

  3. Haha! I am with Jenn on this. My Chuck is right there for the end, and sometimes he manages to bowl me over. However, the beginning is the trickiest for me. Simply because the beginning sets everything up for the entire novel to follow. It has to be perfect or else everything can get all tangled later on......yikes! :) Great post, Julia! Love it!

  4. I love the analogy about the mirage. That's what it feels like, forever far away, sorta hanging out to let me know it might be there, or maybe not. My version of Chuck is fickle, hiding now and then, and sometimes it disappears completely. I rarely ever know where I will end up, even when I outline. I am a first-line sort of gal. It comes to me, and then I wait for the story to materialize. Like dropping ink on watercolor paper or water on your very cold windshield. It crystallizes and fans out. But when it stops, I get stuck. Needless to say, I have a lot false starts.

    Thanks for the great post. Always a pleasure!

  5. Thank you for sharing all of your Chucks with me. You'll probably refer to the unreachable, yet, reachable ending as Chuck from now on. I sure hope so cause that would be way funny. Thanks for your comments.
    Jenn Sommersby - I love your analogy of the watercolor. That sort of how I am. A little idea comes to me and then it spreads out to something wonderful.

  6. For me, I usually have a pretty good idea where my story is going, so the ending isn't that sneaky...but...the beginning is a challenge.

    That miserable S.O.B. is named Satan and he likes to screw with me. Self-doubt and confusion are his weapons of choice; afterall, the beginning sets the tone for the entire book. It has to be perfect, right?

    Throw in the fact that I am a perfectionist and it gets pretty scary. I have had to learn to "just write", get the first draft done, and then I can go back and edit it until my heart is content (and no longer racing with OCD anxiety).

    But, there isn't anything else I would rather do. Writing, with all of its heartache and frustration, is still the love of my life.

    Thanks for an entertaining post!

  7. Christin - I am here to entertain. Just meet me in person, it will be all the more entertaining. I promise. I tell you, I suffer from the self-doubt and confusion all the time. One minute I can think I'm awesome and the next, the scum of the writing world. But we keep going and laugh off the bad times. Thanks for checking out my blog.

  8. It was my pleasure. It would be nice to meet you in person one day. I hope that happens. :)