That Moment When…

So I did NaNo WriMo, right? Yes, definitely did. And I wrote 50,000 words. And I said I wasn’t done with the book.

I just didn’t realize how right I was.

Last week, I sat down to write the climax of my book, like I promised, and couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get the scene to play in my head, I couldn’t figure out the pacing, I wanted to throw too many big moments in, and I wanted to be DONE.

And then it hit me: I wasn’t at the climax, I was somewhere toward the beginning of Act 3.

I had a whole final act left to go on a story already on legs so shaky they could register on the Richter scale.

Also, my reaction to realizing I wasn’t nearly as done as I thought?

 

Thankfully, I picked up K.M. Weiland’s Structuring Your Novel and started reading the section on Act 3 again. This helped me realize my conundrum and how to fix it.

The good news is, uh, I identified the problem? I guess that’s good news.

The bad news is my Christmas present to myself (to have finished the first draft of SAAFire) might be delayed. I’m going to blame Santa. He can take it.

It’s frustrating, of course, to find that your sloppily laid plans and by-the-seat-of-your-pants methodology have fallen through, as should probably have been expected. Writing an ending isn’t like writing any other part of the book. You have to start tying everything up while delivering surprises and thrilling conclusions. I’m accustomed to building the story with lots of room to wiggle.

So I had to take a step back and let my brain ruminate on my mistake and how to fix it. I have written less than 2000 words in SAAFire this week as I just let the dust settle.

NaNo taught me that I could realistically write a thousand words a day. These past two weeks have proven that I need the outline in order for that writing to be effective and efficient…and that, occasionally, I’ll need a break.

If working in a corporate environment has taught me anything, it’s to always learn from these kinds of “opportunities.”

So, I’m easing up the pressure on finishing SAAFire (still planning to have it done this year, though), and will focus a bit more on some of the guest posts and freelance work I’d like to start developing.

The holidays can be stressful for anyone, for any reason. You see your family more often, you’re spending more money, traffic is insane all the time for some reason, and there is added pressure to be happy and productive, especially when you aren’t.

So make sure you take some time for yourself this holiday season amidst whatever you have going on. I know I’ll be giving myself some room to breathe so I can be merry.

I live in a desert, though, so my Christmas won’t exactly be white. But that’s okay, because my family and friends are near to make the season bright.

 

Author: JA Goodsell

I write YA fantasy, blog about it, and then take my dog out for therapy. My current manuscript is ANATHEMA, a story of two sisters caught up in a war between the gods. Find me on Twitter at @JAGoodsell or Instagram at books_and_dogs

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