Wayne Rutherford's picture
Wayne Rutherford from Columbus, Ohio is reading NOS4A2 May 17, 2012 - 5:48pm

I have a story that I've been working on for a few years. When I started it I was content to have a short story that I thought was pretty good. Now, I've been working on it and I've developed an idea to make it into a novel.

Here's the problem;

I'm at, what is essentially, the climax of the story and I'm starting to choke.

Until this point I could pound out page after page, no problem. Now, I'm worried that I'm going to completely screw up and I want this part perfect.

What should I do?

JEFFREY GRANT BARR's picture
JEFFREY GRANT BARR from Central OR is reading Nothing but fucking Shakespeare, for the rest of my life May 17, 2012 - 6:12pm

Screw it up, then go back and fix it. Get it down on the page and don't spare the horses.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig May 17, 2012 - 6:12pm

I'll tell you what I did. I stopped, and started writing other stuff. I have most of a novel finished, some holes to fill in, and then on to the rewrites. I've been working on it for YEARS. I can't let it go, I can't finish it. I have the worst time trying to fill those damn holes in. So I put it away. I'm writing other stuff, focusing on becoming a better writer, working on another longer WIP, and breathing. I do plan to go back, but I am not going to sit and stare at the blank page/blinking cursor wishing I wasn't choking--I'm going to go out and hone the skills I need to fix that beast up.

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading May 17, 2012 - 9:01pm

You can only screw it up by being afraid to revise. So fuck it up like a good messy cheeseburger and clean up later.

Revision: Like makeup sex, but life actually gets better after!

Matt Attack's picture
Matt Attack from Richmond, Va. is reading As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner May 18, 2012 - 2:16am

Write, see how it works, revise. Repeat the process until you like it. 

GaryP's picture
GaryP from Denver is reading a bit of this and that May 18, 2012 - 6:15am

As many already said: Just write(TM). 

And don't be afraid to fool yourself into writing the ending. Create a copy of your story and tell yourself you'll just write a practice ending. Not the real one. Just something to write. When that's done, make another copy of the file and write a different ending. Play with it. Have fun. The real work won't start until you have a first draft complete.

Right now (write now?) I have three copies of the same story and I'm working on three different endings because, honestly, I haven't decided how i want it to end. All three endings intrigue me. When I find the ending I like, I'll go back through the beginning and middle of the story and rework it to make that ending succeed. The ending will only work if the beginning/middle sets it up properly.

Now, go have some fun.

Clutch's picture
Clutch from Detroit Metro Area now living in Charlotte, NC is reading "The Spooky Art" by Norman Mailer May 18, 2012 - 9:50am

Never be afraid to write garbage. You can always go back and revise it.

JEFFREY GRANT BARR's picture
JEFFREY GRANT BARR from Central OR is reading Nothing but fucking Shakespeare, for the rest of my life May 18, 2012 - 10:01am

I second GaryP's suggestion - that approach works for me as well. It takes a bit longer, but every once in a while you'll come up with something dynamite in one of the alternate versions, which you can then cherry-pick into your final version. 

Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz May 18, 2012 - 10:13am

As many already said: Just write(TM).

 

Nice GaryP.

Shit whatever works. Every single writer, at least the ones I know, has a slightly different process. 

Some revise, rewrite and revise more than others.

Some revise and edit while they write and do very little thereafter.

Some pump words onto the white and go back to shape them.

All I know is there is not one way to write. I think everyone has to find their own method through trial and error. 

Like Gary said:

justwrite™

 

Matt Attack's picture
Matt Attack from Richmond, Va. is reading As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner May 18, 2012 - 10:19am

justwrite™"

 

Chester how legally binding are your trademarks? 

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig May 18, 2012 - 10:45am

Chester is going to own the whole world.

But.

I own Chester ™

 

So Watch Out™

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig May 18, 2012 - 10:46am

Fucking Double Post™

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated May 18, 2012 - 10:48am

Stop worrying about screwing up and start worrying about how to write something awesome.

GaryP's picture
GaryP from Denver is reading a bit of this and that May 18, 2012 - 10:58am

Some pump words onto the white

That's cool™

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks May 18, 2012 - 12:31pm

Jump forward in the story and build backwards. I rarely write chronologically.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. May 18, 2012 - 2:38pm

Psychoanalyze it until you give up.

Wayne Rutherford's picture
Wayne Rutherford from Columbus, Ohio is reading NOS4A2 May 24, 2012 - 5:51pm

I've taken the advice of those telling me to keep writing. I wrote a couple more pages today and some of it was good and other parts were bad. I'll finish up the story, go back and pick out all the crap; hopefully replacing it with something a bit better.

In between that, I might work on another story that I've come up with.

Thanks for the advice, everyone. It's appreciated.

misskokamon's picture
misskokamon from San Francisco is reading The Moonlit Mind May 30, 2012 - 5:07pm

When it comes to endings, I think about Anne Rice.

Those of you who have read her books should know that every ending to every novel she has ever written is STUPID. She writes the climax, and then... STUPIDITY happens.

So, if she can get away with it, why not me?

Write the climax. then write a bad ending. Then read your work over -- try to read it all in a day, if possible -- and when you reach the climax again, you'll have a better idea of how you want to pace it and finish. Then you can rewrite it!

Now, when you reread your work, you can make notes of things you want to change... but don't change it till you've fixed up your climax and ending. You'll lose the pacing you want if you get caught up in rewriting act one and act two stuff.

And for the love of God, don't write an epilogue. 

But don't stop writing, or you'll never finish. And if you don't finish, how can you revise?