Monday, May 25, 2015

13 Week Novel—Week 13 Activities: A Clean Finish

Hello. How is your week going?

Well, it's an exciting time—we're in our last week of the novel draft.
Get ready to write this! Image "3:10 to Yuma (1957)" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by twm1340
Or maybe that's not so exciting. If you are like me, you contemplate not bothering with the resolution in this draft, because how can you really resolve anything if the whole book will change in the revisions? Any resolution you write will be thrown out anyway. Why not just start the revision process?

I admitted these thoughts to someone in my writing group—someone who has ghostwritten many books. He said that his wife closes cabinet doors halfway, puts the top on the toothpaste without twisting it shut. She does things only so far but never completely finishes them. Thus, things don't seem to get fully done. Basically, the implication was that, if I don't bother writing the resolution in the first draft, will I bother finishing the next draft? "Who cares if you throw away the resolution that you wrote in the first draft? What matters is that you have the closure, mentally, that you have finished and can move on." Well, he said something like that. Or that's what I took away. And then he suggested a fear of completion or failure—both things I had considered.

I think he was right. Simply writing a resolution allows us to tie things up and see where they go in this draft. Leaving it at the climax and without a resolution leaves the whole thing undone, the end open, and our minds spinning with that unknown. If it's finished, we are able go into the next draft cleanly.

And that's what I'm asking you to do: finish your last 2500 words and then take a month off from this novel before revising. Don't reread it. Don't think about it. Don't even look at it. Take the jump drive that it's on and hide it in the bottom drawer of your desk. Put all your notes in there, too. Stay away from it. Do other things. Work on a draft of something else. Take a vacation.

Emptying your mind of this book for a month will also allow you to go into the revision process cleanly. It will allow you to think about it in different ways when you start the next draft.

So keep going to the end. Finish it this week. Congratulate yourself. If you're in town, drop me a line and let's go out to celebrate together.

Then take a nap and plan your month. You deserve it.

Come back here when you are ready to revise. But do not revise, edit, or proofread for at least a month. I'm serious.

Coming in a little late? Find out about the 13 week challenge here. And see the first week's activities here.  

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  1. Great advice. I'll be sure to follow it when I write my first novel :)

  2. Thanks, Jay. Anytime is a good time to start the novel!