Day 184 – The plot continues

Day one hundred eighty-four of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 600

I’m in wrap-it-up mode in the final chapter of my book. As much as I have a need at this point to provide closure and a sense of satisfaction to the reader, I am finding that the plot continues to keep things interesting. It’s not over by any means.

Something pivotal just occurred when my characters are supposed to be winding down. I did not expect it, but I guess that means the end of the adventure has left me – and hopefully the reader – wanting more.

I love how much I learn about the creative writing process from these little surprises.

Day 183 – Gratification oozes in anticipation of the book’s ending

Day one hundred eighty-three of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 2,000

I wrote an almost even 2,000 words tonight as I closed the loop on the story. The thrilling adventure through which my protagonist has been hurtling officially came to an end. So did Chapter Twenty. And now, I should only have one more chapter to write. That’s it. After that, my first draft will be done.

A sense of pure gratification is oozing from my core. I can’t believe I’m almost done.

Until I start re-writing and revising, of course.

Day 177 – The twenties, hooray

Day one hundred seventy-seven of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 500

As a writer, I’m so easy to please these days. I began Chapter 20 tonight and just about did a jig to celebrate. Why? Because when I outlined this book many months ago I envisioned it to be around twenty chapters in length. I am getting close to the end of the story and here it is, right around my mark. That makes me happy. Like I said, easy to please.

I expect things to change a lot after the first draft, including the number of chapters. I’m already thinking about the re-writing and revising stage. I’m even looking forward to it. Now that I am in the twenties, I feel that much closer to it. It’s probably an odd milestone to acknowledge, but a milestone it is.

Day 166 – Looking forward to a first read

Day one hundred sixty-six of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,200

Without saying what it was, I can report that I made a decision about my plot dilemma from yesterday. It wasn’t an easy one, and I’m not even sure I made the right decision. I *think* I did, but I won’t be sure until I reach the ending. So, we’ll see.

I am most pleased by the fact that there is still progress. Tonight I ended Chapter Eighteen and started Chapter Nineteen. That’s my favorite kind of progress; dynamic and exciting. I will go into the weekend with a new chapter started, and hopefully some extra time to work on it. It would be great to reach the ending of this draft (maybe another couple of chapters to go) because I am thick with anticipation of doing a first read of my manuscript. Now that I think about it, I suppose I am in a good place right now. There is a lot to look forward to.

Day 156 – Using humor in suspense/thriller fiction

Day one hundred fifty-six of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,100

I started Chapter 18 tonight, and although there have been some lighter moments scattered here and there in the previous seventeen chapters, for the most part the story is serious. It is, after all, turning out to be a suspense/thriller novel (I’m not even sure how to classify it yet). Despite this, tonight I ended up writing a couple of lighter moments with some humor mixed in.

A few questions come to mind as a result: 1) Is it appropriate to include some humor in consideration of the serious tone of the rest of the book? 2) Will the reader get stuck on this change and think it odd? 3) If it is okay to use some humor in this type of book, how is it best received? In small doses? In obvious ways, or more subtle ones? 4) What are the risks involved in attempting to transition between these two very different tones, and how does one reduce or prevent those risks?

The answers to these questions may be more obvious to me when I read the first draft. But of course, any input from you seasoned writers is always appreciated.

Day 155 – The closure that comes with ending a chapter

Day one hundred fifty-five of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 900

I had planned to write at least 1,000 words tonight, but I reached the end of Chapter 17 at just over 900. There’s no better place to end a writing session than at the end of a chapter. I love those last moments of reflection about the state of a character or characters, foreshadowing of what is to come, and closure of what led up to that point. I finish a chapter feeling satisfied and eager to start the next one. And that is exactly how I hope the reader will feel in that same moment before turning the page.

What the reader won’t experience is the closure from finishing a part of the book that allows the writer to put it behind her for a period of time. I enjoy thinking about the story as I write it, but I also enjoy letting go of each scene, each chapter after it’s done. I have more writing to do, so to be able to set past chapters aside – to shelve them for a while to let them steep before I get into the reading, re-writing and editing process – is in many ways a relief. I have written seventeen chapters totaling 139,182 words. I still have more to go, but right about now this kind of closure feels pretty damn good.

Day 142 – Getting what you want out of the story

Day one hundred forty-two of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,300

So. Much. Fun. I started Chapter Seventeen tonight after ending Chapter Sixteen in suspense last night. I thought about it often today, my fingertips itching in anticipation. With the kids in bed and husband home after working late, I finally got into it after a long day and it was hugely satisfying. Even more satisfying was getting what I wanted out of the story.

I’ve mentioned quite a few times lately that I’m nearing the end of this book. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the plot is circling back and characters are being reunited just before the end of a long struggle through dangerous adventures. Writing that moment – when two main characters finally reach each other after being separated and unable to find each other for an agonizing period of time – was like having dessert. I couldn’t wait for them to be together again. They couldn’t wait to be together again. And when they finally were, it was…pretty awesome. I’m so jazzed about it I have to share a little snippet – pardon the raw, unedited feel of it:

“Skylar!” Thomas immediately took off at a run toward her. With awareness in the moment that felt more out-of-body than the wildly visceral experience it actually was, Skylar stumbled toward him through the deep snow like a weak-kneed drunk. Never so happy or relieved in her life, she felt like she needed to vomit or cry, or maybe both, as they reached each other and embraced with a driving force that would have dented a Buick.

Ahh. Now that is getting what I wanted. And the story still has more satisfying moments to come.

Day 141 – Ending a chapter in suspense

Day one hundred forty-one of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,100

I ended Chapter Sixteen on a suspenseful note tonight, which leaves me excited to write the beginning of Chapter Seventeen tomorrow. I can’t help but wonder and hope…if while I am writing I feel the suspense and can’t wait to turn the page to continue writing, will readers experience those same feelings?

It is hard to know while in the midst of writing how a reader will feel about a scene. Everyone perceives descriptions differently. Everyone experiences different feelings from the words they read. But suspense? I tend to think that everyone perceives suspense equally.

When a scene is deliberately written to offer the reader some insight into what is coming next and the scene ends before what’s next actually comes, the reader can feel the suspense. That’s what I would like to think, anyway. True or not, I leave for bed happy and charged for writing tomorrow. And that is a good feeling I haven’t had in a while. Thank you, suspense.

Day 136 – Man, I love writing fiction

Day one hundred thirty-six of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,300

About a year before I started writing this book I had written down an idea for a scene to include in “a book someday.” When I began writing this one, I hoped to find a way to fit that scene into it. Chapter after chapter, I never forgot about it. About half-way through, I was sure that I could make it work somewhere. I just wasn’t sure how it was going to fit in, timing-wise. The further I got into the book, the timing never seemed right. Until now.

I wrote the scene into my book tonight, although it is not quite finished. I wrote it in by making it about a refuge for my main characters to reach. A destination. The scene meant not only a moment of relief and curiosity for the characters, but also a moment of intense satisfaction for me. I finally got to write the scene into the book. I finally reached this goal, this destination, that I had envisioned a long time ago. Satisfaction.

The coolest thing about it was that in a way, my characters and I reached it together. I felt like I shared a secret with them. Something that has been a part of my conscience, known only to me, became real. It’s real now because it is a part of their story.

Man, I love writing fiction.

Day 116 – Tying plot twists together

Day one hundred sixteen of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,000

The book I am currently writing is trying to be a legal thriller, which means there are some significant twists and turns in the plot. Now that I am nearing the end of the first draft (“near” being a few chapters away), I have reached a point when I am tying together plot twists. And man, is it fun.

How am I tying them together? I am revisiting some of the foreshadowing I wrote into earlier chapters, and I am now bringing those pieces to fruition. I’m also linking characters who had no apparent connection before and revealing that now, (surprise!) they have been connected all along. I have found that some new ideas have surfaced because of making connections between plot twists. Like I said, this is all a bunch of fun for me.

Interestingly, I have forgotten some of the facts written into the story earlier in the novel. I’m literally leaving blanks for words or partial sentences to be filled in later because my mind has failed me in remembering all of the details. I find this hilarious. I’m the one who wrote the facts, for crying out loud. How is it possible that I have forgotten them? Well, it’s a long book. I have been writing it over the course of almost four months. I’m not sure if it is normal to forget what you’ve written, but I can assure you – I have. Which brings me to my next realization: reading the manuscript once completed is going to be a huge eye-opener. You know, since I can’t remember some of it. It will be like I’m reading someone else’s book.

Geez, I hope I like it.