Friday, April 2, 2010

Reaching the End -- Let Them Eat Cake!

I'm so close to the end of my WIP. Much of the hard work is done. (I kid myself -- it's only a first draft.) I am so close I can visualize typing "the end." It's almost like I've made a reservation at my favorite restaurant -- the one with the awesome chocolate molten lava cake. I can almost taste the melting chocolate, but I have to wait for that Saturday reservation, and I will, of course, eat my salad and entrée before I dig into dessert.

Now that I've got you all rooting through pockets and purses for errant chocolate bars, let me interject a little dose of reality. I started my revision before writing the ending.

I know, I know. Just keep writing the sh***y first draft. Get down the bones, fill out the flesh later. Um, no. Couldn't do it. My biggest problem? My first draft had two plot lines I began and then dropped. Literally. Just stopped referencing them and picked up new ones. I did, however, weave elements of both those plot lines into other plot lines. Confused yet? Um, yes. At least I was. And so was my MC.

So I printed out my first 40,000 words and am now hard at work revising. Cutting here, adding there, inserting new chapters here and there. I still need to add a lot of flesh, but at least my skeleton no longer suffers from premature osteoporosis. My bad guys are still bad, but in different ways. My MC yearns for the same goals, but he's taking bigger risks to reach them.

And when I write my final chapters, I will head in a surer direction; all plot lines will support the planned climax. Note the use of the word "planned." But isn't that one of the best aspects of writing? Deciding whether to go with the plan, or scrapping it all because a better idea pops up?

So it may take me longer to make that dinner reservation and get to that molten chocolate lava cake, but until then, Trader Joe's has a pretty good frozen version. Because sometimes we writers may put off typing "the end," but we still need a little instant gratification.

So 'fess up. Any guilty secrets out there? Anybody reward themselves with special treats as we follow this path to publication?


  1. I always revise while I'm going along. I start the writing by rereading what I wrote the day before. It gets me in the right head space.
    Congrats on almost finishing - it's always a relief!

  2. The way you described your plot-line situation, fixing that before you finish your first draft makes complete sense. That dessert looks scrumptious! I'd be tempted to eat it INSTEAD of dinner.

  3. Yum.

    I always want to celebrate at the end of a draft, at the end of a major revision, and at the end of edits.

    I usually go on a little shopping binge and buy my favorite things.

  4. I made brownies yesterday partly because the mix was calling me, but partly to celebrate having completed my income taxes and a teacher guide for Cobblestone magazine. Chocolate is an awesome reward.

    Linda A.

  5. Lots of times I begin revising before I'm finished the first draft too - especially if I realize there's a big problem with the structure. I think you can't follow any "rules" on this one - if you can't keep going until it's straightened out, then you should fix it.

  6. I am revising before finishing the first draft as well. Although I was determined to finish the draft first, my VCFA advisor "encouraged" (read made me) start over. It's considerably better now, so I am glad I took his advice. Still pushing through to the end . . . I hope I get there soon. As for my reward?? Who knows. It still seems too far away.
    But if you need someone to celebrate with, I do love chocolate molten lava cake!

  7. I promised myself a handful of Cadbury Chocolate Eggs (the really rich kind with the candy shell) after I finished revising two chapters. Long term goals usually involve clothes or a spa visit.

    I'm all in favor of instant gratificaiton. :)

  8. I revise as I go, too. There's a picture of chocolate lava cakes on the cover of The Ghiradelli Chocolate Cookbook, which I own, though I've yet to try my hand at them.

  9. Judy,
    Your plan makes complete sense, especially the bit about the molten lava cake!! People complain about the murky middle, but I always have starting and ending trouble. Got to try the cake thing ...

  10. Glad to see I am in such good company in the land of chocolate! And in the land of drafting/revision.

    Time to raid the Easter baskets!

  11. I think you should eat some molten lava cake now. The sugar buzz is guaranteed to speed you through what remains of your revisions and first draft. Then, to celebrate finishing both, you can have even more molten lava cake. (And that sugar buzz just might get you started on your next WIP!)