The hard part

Wow, where the hell have I been? Tumbling, for the most part. You can always catch up with me over there, although what you read might be disproportionately about James McAvoy, but you don’t mind that, do you? Great! The other answer to the above question is: writing. Yes. I am writing. Joyfully. Ecstatically. Quickly. Painfully. Why painfully? Oh, no reason. I’m just at the HARDEST PART of the first draft–the big reveal. Why oh why do I write mysteries? The way that the climax and resolution come about is key, because you want to make sure the reader doesn’t figure out what happened before the characters do (unless, as a reader, you’re into that sort of thing, which I am but I cannot do because I am terrible at solving mysteries), so it can’t be head-bangingly obviously, but then again you don’t want the readers to be like, “Huh. I never in a million years would’ve seen that coming and find no evidence in the preceding chapters to back it up. Great. Fifteen dollars well spent. NOT.” Blurgh. I can’t say much more about it here, obviously, but I just wanted to voice my frustration. It’s been going so smoothly, but now it’s time to pull out all the stops and just write it, which is advice I give to anyone working on a first draft (first drafts are ugly and inconsistent! don’t worry! you can fix it all later, just write it down!), but it’s always a little hard to give yourself permission to write the not-good stuff. Not that I think this is not good, it’s just complicated and will need a lot of smoothing over.

The good thing about writing MB is that I have been able to recognize as I was writing it exactly what big ticket items need to be fixed in post-rough-draft edits. I feel like I can step back from the process and go, “Hm, that character shifts gender between chapters, so gotta resolve that,” or even bigger stuff, like more emotional exploration of main characters. I know that so many people write bloated first drafts and then cull, but I actually write skeletal first drafts and then add. Maybe this is because my books are plot-driven (I hate saying that because then it sounds like there’s a lack of characterization, but it’s true: the mystery carries the story along, and characters grow and change because of and around it)–I just bust my butt trying to get the plot on the page, then I work on getting it right, then I work on character, which is the actual hardest part, the most amorphous when it comes to getting the “It’s done” feeling, but is also the most rewarding so I don’t mind that.

Anyway. The hard work is in front of me, in so many ways, but the first hurdle is just finishing, just throwing my shoulder up against the door and breaking down that wall that’s keeping me away from my ending. Rough drafts are the hardest, as they always, always say, and I’m not quite sure they get easier with experience, although you’d have to ask a far more seasoned writer than myself to get that answer.

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