Friday, June 24, 2011

Two Stars and A Wish for My Novel Ending

I've been struggling with revising the ending to my novel. I've gotten great feedback from my critique partners. I've revisited my blurbs and summaries. I've scribbled notes and arrows all over my writing notebook. And all I have to show for it is a jumble of confused thoughts and a cursor stuck on Chapter 26. 

I finally gave up and walked away from it on Wednesday, hoping that taking a break for a couple of days would spark some new ideas. It's so discouraging when a part of the writing just isn't working, it starts to me thinking that the whole thing is terrible.

So, today I'm going to borrow a trick from my day job as a teacher. When students reflect on their work, we sometimes  ask them to think about two things they liked or did well with, and one wish for something they could have done differently or improved on. I'm going to try that with the ending of my novel. I hope it will help me appreciate what IS working as well as to help me pinpoint exactly what it is that I need to fix.


  1. Being stuck is hard. Give your brain time and it will figure it out for you. Read a book. Watch a movie. Go for a walk!

  2. Often the ending you're looking for is in the opening of the story. If you go back you can find you already put in the thing you need somewher in the start.

    Moody Writing

  3. I find solutions often come at me sideways when I'm not trying to force them. I agree with Laura - go for a walk, fold laundry, take a shower... those things often seem to jog things loose for me :)

  4. Being stuck is hard, and so is waiting for the stuck to stop. Going back to the start as mooderino suggested is interesting. I like it. Checking back to what the character(s) were after in the first place, before things got messed up, might help invigorate where you need to go.

    Side note: When I walk my dog, ideas flow. Remember what it is you do when your ideas flow best. Wishing you your wish.

  5. I totally understand! I had this same problem with the ending of my novel. I think the reason you're stuck is b/c your subconscious is still trying to figure it out.

    So don't push it. When it figures everything out, you'll have an "Aha!" moment and get back to work.

    Until then, don't stress yourself out.

    Good luck! :)

  6. Great idea about the wishes. I do that with my children at the end of the day. We call it "high and low" and it's essentially the same thing. I'll give it a go with my writing.
    Good luck sorting our your final chapter!

  7. Thanks for your suggestions, everyone!

    Mooderino, I like your idea of thinking about how the ending connects to the beginning. This makes me think I should go back to my original ending, which did do that well. Sigh.

    Barbara, what is most frustrating is that I have at least one other project ready to go,
    and I really want to get working on them. So it's hard to be still tied to this one. At the same time, I don't want to start another until this one is done, because I just don't have the brain space or writing time to work on both of them.


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