Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy Dance!

I just finished typing the last chapter of the Steampunk novel I've been working on! Big time happy dance! I'd started the last 3 or 4 chapters 4 or 5 different times, but nothing felt right. I kept saving the files, then deleting everything I'd added and trying again. And again.

Finally had a bit of a light-bulb moment and realized I needed to delete one more chapter. It's where things had gone from exciting to bleh. And nobody wants bleh, especially at the end of their novel.

Once I deleted it and started from there, it more or less flew out of my fingers.

One of the sub-plots tied itself up in a nice pretty bow for me. And even though it's not a bright, shining, happy-ever-after ending, I like it.

It's happy enough - don't think my personality would allow anything else - but it's not saccharine sweet. They're battered, bruised, exhausted. But they've fixed the big problem and things are finally looking up for them.

I think the impetus for the ending came from knowing I had a whole hour to write this afternoon. In a row!! You have no idea how rare that is. It's actually been almost an hour and a half now. This never happens. Ever!

I know there's still tons of work to do - lots of revising/editing to come, but I'm still happy dancing. This is a much stronger first draft than my last one. I don't have nearly as many useless words. The pace is better. So, I'm feeling good about diving back in to do some polishing.

Do you ever have troubles with your endings? How have you resolved them? Did you plow on through or go back and delete?

84 comments:

  1. So excited for you. You deserve to do a happy dance. Congratulations and good luck.

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  2. Congrats! That's such a great feeling isn't it? I haven't had too much problems writing the endings, mostly though because I'm a planner and I typically know exactly how I want it to end before I've even begun. I usually change a lot of the in-between stuff, but the ending stays the same. Wahoo on finishing though! I'm doing a happy dance for you!

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  3. Thanks Mason - I'm still jumping up and down a little! :)

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  4. Tiana - it is SUCH a good feeling!

    I don't outline or plan anything. Although this is the first story where I didn't start with the ending... That's usually my first vision.

    Thanks for dancing along :)

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  5. Woohoo - many congratulations! :-)

    I get antsy towards the end, and tend to rush my endings. Mostly because I'm ready to be *done* with it already! LOL

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  6. Congratulations! I love the Calvin and Hobbes. Picture me, out here in BC doing a Snoopy dance. Well done.

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  7. Jamie - thanks!!

    This ending has been slow coming. I've been thinking about/working on it for a couple of months now!

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  8. Elspeth - yup - we Canadians can sure do those cartoon dances!! :)

    Thanks!

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  9. Congratulations! That is a great feeling. It's better to take the time to get it right. Good job!

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  10. Congratulations Jemi! I'm popping in from my blog break to happy dance with you! Woohoo!

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  11. Thanks Layinda!! It felt like forever to get the ending solved. In fact it was. It took me longer than the rest of the book! :)

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  12. Tamika - thanks! Happy dancing is a good break! Thanks for joining in :)

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  13. Congratulations and good luck with the next bit! :-)

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  14. Yay! Yay! Yay! Congrats - what a brilliant feeling. I have a lovely cupcake here for you if you can get to London! :)

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  15. Thanks Rosalind - I'm pumped up - it doesn't scare me! Not yet anyway :)

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  16. Talli - oooo cupcakes! I may have to just make the trip :) Thanks!

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  17. Yay! I've spent the last few months re-working the ending of my chapter book - UGH! I think I'm pretty close now, though. :-)

    Congrats on finishing. That's exciting news.

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  18. I'm so thrilled for you (as you should be of yourself). I can feel your excitement bubbling through my monitor!

    You go girl :) X

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  19. Shannon - good luck with it - mine took me a couple of months - just as long as the rest of the book!!

    Thanks :)

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  20. Thanks Wendy!! I must have been worried because I'm a little too excited right now :)

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  21. Congratulations Jemi!!! I'm so happy for you =) Typing that last word is freaking awesomeeee!

    With Shattered, I knew what the ending would be (it came to me about half way through) so once I got there it was smooth sailing... But the middle parts and the beginning? Don't even get me started!!

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  22. That is a such a wonderful feeling - to be done! And an hour and a half just to write --
    imagine what you could get done if you were independently wealthy...

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  23. Thanks Sara! :)

    It's funny how each ms is different. For the one I've got marinating, it was the beginning that drove me batty!

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  24. Anne - it certainly is!

    Wow - don't even get me started. I'm still vibrating with excitement from the hour & a half :) Don't know if I could handle much more!

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  25. Congrats Jemi! That is such a terrific feeling, isn't it :)

    After writing and editing my original ending of current WiP, I deleted the entire thing and rewrote it. It was just so flat. I'd lost some of my characters voice, as well. Almost nothing from the original stayed and I'm much happier with it.

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  26. Thanks Tara - it is!

    That's pretty much what I did too :) It was so much easier once I clicked in! Stronger and tighter!

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  27. Congratulations! That's awesome!

    I rewrote my ending three, or maybe four times before I finally got it right. It's a great feeling to know you've got a solid finish to your book.

    Yay you!

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  28. Congratulations!! Finishing a first draft is the best feeling. You know you've done well when subplots tie themselves up like that.

    I always think up my ending first. I change the story as I go along, but I mentally shift the ending a bit to compensate if needed, so when it's time to write it, it just comes down to choosing the right words. Problem with my current wip is I have two endings in mind, and I'm not sure which I like more.

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  29. Thanks Stephanie!!

    Yes - I'm much happier now. The ending feels right. It was dragging on after it was done, and I didn't like that. This is better :)

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  30. Lorel - Thanks :)

    The subplot was awesome - it flowed out of my fingers and I was kinda surprised - but it worked!

    I usually have endings first too, but not this time!

    Have you tried writing them both out? One might just feel better if you do :)

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  31. YAY! What a great feeling! I'm doing a happy dance for you too!

    On my first draft (which I blindly thought was IT) I wrote out this sentence and knew that was it...I was done. I could not write another word that statement ended it all! I loved it! So hopefully it sticks through this third rewrite! It had that finality that can also move you on to a next book in the series (my evil plan)

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  32. Yay! That is wonderful. It really is an awesome accomplishment to write a novel, and you've done it. May you find more of those spare hours now to get the revision done. :D

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  33. Shawna - Thanks!! :)

    Those rewrites can be killers! I like your evil plan. I kind of left some part of the plot open in case I want to move in that direction as well.

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  34. Tricia - thanks! It's such a great feeling - and yup I'm going to need a few hours to do the revising! But that's okay - I knew that :)

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  35. Tossing confetti for you, Jemi!!! Congratulations!

    Since I'm not a 'happily ever after' person, endings are always tough. It's a matter of resolving the major conflicts, giving enough of an ending to satisfy the reader but still keep them wondering about the characters. Not easy.

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  36. Congrats, Jemi! That is such an exciting and satisfying time, when you finally finish after working so hard. Way to go! :D

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  37. Abba, dabba, doo-- You're the dancing queen!
    Now keep up the energy and waltz right through the next steps of the process.
    I do pretty well with beginnings and endings, I just stumble sometimes between the two points.
    Lee

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  38. Give yourself a major pat on the back [eat chocolate] and relax before you get down to the business of revisions. And, yes, it's so important to rock the ending. Go, Jemi!

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  39. Woot!! Oh Happy Day! CONGRATS!

    I always remind myself of this:
    Hemingway rewrote the end of A Farewell to Arms THIRTY NINE TIMES!!
    39 times, because, he said, he wanted to get it right.
    Dude.
    That's hardcore.

    But I do love that book and his ending.

    That comforts me when on my 5th rewrite of a plot point that isn't working out... even the Greats have to work at getting it right too. Maybe even *shudder* 39 times.

    Again, CONGRATS!
    Love,
    Lola

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  40. Yay, yay, yay! Congratulations on finishing.

    I've rewritten my ending twice now and am about to do it again. Then hopefully I can join you in the Happy Dance - enjoy!

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  41. I see your Happy Dance...and raise you one Snoopy Dance! :) That is so great for you. Thank you for sharing your excitement with a crowd who truly appreciates what it means. Turn the music up LOUD!

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  42. Yipeeee! There's nothing like that feeling of having a book done. Enjoy the moment. :)

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  43. VR - exactly! That's just what wasn't working. I couldn't seem to get the balance. I think I have it now - but we'll see on the re-read :)

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  44. Shelley - thanks so much - it does feel good :)

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  45. Thanks Lee! - I just came back from a family bday event & I'm still dancing :) Thanks for the encouragement :)

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  46. Thanks Debra - chocolate it is! We had a chocolate cake for a family birthday tonight - I thought it was particularly appropriate for the way I felt :)

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  47. Lola - thanks!!

    39 times? Hemingway? Wow - definitely makes me feel better - even knowing I'll end up with more changes coming up :) 39!!

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  48. Alexa - thanks - hope you're happy dancing with me anytime now!! It is a goooooood feeling :)

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  49. Congratulations!!! that is so so so so exciting!!!
    I tend to cut my endings off too short for fear of drawing them out too long ... finding the balance!

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  50. DL - I see your Snoopy Dance - and stop there, because, you know, it's SNOOPY!!

    Thanks! It's fun to enjoy the moments :)

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  51. Kathi - thanks - I'm SO enjoying right now. I'll be back with the revisions tomorrow, but tonight it's all about the dance :)

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  52. Michelle - thanks! balance is such a hard thing at times. I really struggled with this one. It was just draaaaaaging out - and driving me batty. I think this one works well. But I'm not re-reading it tonight in case I'm wrong :)

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  53. Congratulations on finishing. There's nothing like typing THE END. And then I felt kind of....umm lost?

    Good luck with your polishing cloth.

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  54. Yvonne - Thanks :)

    I don't feel lost - not yet anyway. I'm kind of chomping at the bit to start at the beginning again. We'll see how long this feeling lasts!

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  55. Yay! I saw on Twitter that you were afraid you had jinxed your writing hour. Glad that you got it!

    How exciting!

    My ending is still a mystery. I have an ending but it sucks right now. Hopefully by the end of April that will change.

    Maybe some of your good luck will rub off on me! :)

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  56. Yay for you!! :o) I must read a steampunk novel, am interested in what they are about. Any suggestions?

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  57. Karen - yes - jinx! Although life got crazy again later - but that's the fun part :)

    Thanks & I'm passing along good vibes - hopefully they can cross the miles :)

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  58. Niki - Thanks!

    Leviathan is really big right now. Philip Pullman's Dark Materials. Airborn by Kenneth Oppel. They're all great :)

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  59. Thanks Jemi I've written them down :o)

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  60. Congratulations, Jemi. I'm happy dancing right with you!

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  61. Thanks Annette - I appreciate the company - no one likes to dance alone :)

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  62. Congratulations!

    Yes, endings are harder for me than beginnings...

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  63. Thanks Elizabeth!

    Endings are tough - there's so much to tie up - or not tie up. So many decisions :)

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  64. Congrats Jemi!! I'm doing a happy dance for you. Don't you love the feeling of finally writing that last sentence? :) Or even just "The End." I usually don't have trouble with my endings or my beginnings - it's the saggy middles that give me the most problems!

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  65. Thanks so much Julie!

    I didn't type 'the end' because it's really just moving on to the next step - but it's such a great feeling!

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  66. Congrats on the breakthrough.

    I'm revising right now, too. Tearing a manuscript apart, putting it back together and writing new scenes (and deleting others). As you know, it's not easy!

    Helen

    Straight From Hel

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  67. Thanks Helen!

    That's my next step! I've gone through most of it once already while the ending was stewing in my brain, so now it's time for some serious work! :)

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  68. Woo-hoo congrats and love the Calvin & Hobbes pic!

    The only ending that troubled me was Book V. My test reader said it was good but telegraphed too soon, so I had to go back and rewrite it. Much better now though!

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  69. Thanks Diane! I love Calvin & Hobbes :)

    I like getting those hints from crit buddies - they sure help put me on track!

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  70. Endings tend to come to me first, then I build backward. (I realize now that sounds like I'm building a house under a hovering roof.) I used to get rid of everything I didn't like as soon as I wrote it. I stopped doing that when I went on a rampage through my room looking for a sheet of paper containing a beautiful line that I could not remember upon second attempt... and realizing I'd tossed it into the fire (literally) a week before.

    Let this be a lesson that stupid decisions will come back to bite you in the butt.

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  71. E - that's normally the way I work too! The ending's usually the first thing I see. Not this time though - the MC started skulking in foggy alleys & I just had to follow him.

    I love your fire story! So frustrating. I tend to save everything on the laptop - I have a pile of files! I don't write anything out by hand - maybe this is why :)

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  72. Ahhh! That is great news! Congrats on getting to the end! That's the best feeling in the world, I think.

    I usually have to rewrite my endings two or three times with major deletage each time. Yeah, I'm one of those.

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  73. Elana - Thank you!! Yes - it sure is a great feeling - nothing quite like it! :)

    Me too - thank the mighty heavens for the delete key - well, and the save feature too :)

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  74. Yay!!! Happy dance away. Much deserved.

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  75. Damn, Jemi, how did I miss this? That's great!

    Sorry, no dancing though. White boys can't dance, either.

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  76. Alex - thanks!!

    Come on! Dance anyway - no one's watching :)

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  77. That's phenomenal! so happy for you! The ending can often be the hardest part and you've conquered it!

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  78. Fantastic news, Jemi! I'm doing a little happy dance for you too. Good stuff keeping at it and not being afraid to hit the delete button as needed.

    And wow! Look at all the comments. You rock as a blogger, girl.

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  79. Thanks Alyssa! It's been great - and I'm excited about revising. Got started today :)

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  80. Thanks Jean - it's been fun! And you've been a big help through it all :)

    Aren't all these great people amazing? It's such a great community!

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  81. Congratulations! I can't wait to read it.
    xx,
    E.J.

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  82. Thanks EJ! It feels great! Still quite a bit of work to do yet :)

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