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Ending is a bittersweet experience.

As authors we long to get to that end, for each word we put down is intended to bring us closer to that destination. We write in order to discover the story within us, but as storytellers we are always a bit saddened when that story reaches its end.

Writing those two words, “The End” on your manuscript, whichever draft it is, is a bit like saying good-bye to a boyfriend. You knew it wouldn’t last, but you enjoyed the ride, the ups and downs, the conflicts, the arguments, the way he drove you crazy, and the way he made you dance through the halls.

But there comes a time when you have to say good-bye, especially in the writing world. After all, you can’t date a manuscript forever (and marrying it is out of the question). Okay, I admit this analogy is getting a bit odd.

I’ve been rewriting my WIP, Spurn the Moon, for many months now. I can’t remember when exactly I began rewriting, but I think it was around May. So now that I’ve pushed through to the end, I’m saddened. I’m actually having a hard time saying good-bye for the moment, and I credit that to a few different reasons.

Why is this so difficult?

  1. I enjoy the setting of this novel. It’s set in England, which I rather consider my second home, and I have been able to “live” there through my MC for the past several months.
  2. After I got through the midpoint, the rest of the novel came quite easily to me. So easily, that I was enjoying writing each scene immensely by the end.
  3. There are complex characters in this novel, characters which surprised me throughout and even managed to surprise me with a twist I didn’t see coming at the end. (How’s that for a story?) I’m still developing these characters in my mind as I consider revisions.
  4. I’m not really saying good-bye yet. This story still needs revision, and I’m itching to revise. I want it to succeed, whether traditional or self published, and I want to get that ball rolling. So I’m forcing myself to “rest” and finding it difficult. The next edit will be a developmental edit, where I examine the plot, where my plot points fall, and all my scenes to determine if they really belong.
  5. It’s NaNo season. And that means I should be madly writing 1667 words a day, every single day. And yet I’m stalled. I can’t seem to switch gears, I can’t seem to get excited about any other project.

On a break?

So why am I “on a break” (Friend’s fan anyone?) from my WIP? To be honest, I need distance. With distance, comes clarity. Rarely is one able to be objective with someone or something that they are close to. Instead, they are affected by their emotions towards that item. Right now, I’m fond of this little novel. (Not so little, as I ended up way over word count at 130K.) But in order to make this novel worthwhile, I need objectivity.

I need to fall out of love with my characters. I have to be able to look at them and see how I could make their lives worse. How can I ratchet up the tension and make them miserable? I can’t do this if I love them too much.

So it’s with sorrow that I demand distance from my WIP. It’s for the best, really. I can consider our relationship, consider the relationships between other characters, and how they might be improved (or destroyed).

In order to gain distance, I’m:

  1. Revising a novella (around 25K words) that I wrote with the same MCs from Spurn the Moon. Its working title is Footprints in the Dust, but I’m planning on renaming it, as that’s not original enough, nor does it really fit.
  2. Continuing to write. Whether it’s blog posts or revision on my novella WIP, I have to keep up the habit. (And I want to “win” NaNo.)
  3. Continuing to plot. As plot holes and revision tactics occur to me, I jot them down in a journal for StM. I don’t want to forget these kind of things for when I do return to this novel.

So what do you do in order to shift gears? What do you do when you type “the end?”