Or better yet, just stop thinking about it.
I’m not one to stick too tightly to outlines. I do like having a plan of action, and that plan will be pretty specific - though not always followed - for the first half the book. But by the second half, I’m freeee. Free faaalliiiing. I might have my outline, but I forget to look at it. Probably because at this point all I have jotted down for the last few chapters is something like:
· Awesome stuff happens
· Even more awesomer stuff happens
I’m only half kidding.
So there I was in the murkiest part of my outline, the climax of the story, with one and a half chapters left to write. Just one. And a half. Friggin.’ More. Chapters! I knew basically what should happen (even more awesomer stuff) and in my mind, I could kinda generate a little bit of a picture of what that should like. And it’s the climax so it has to be better than EVERYTHING that has come before (as Michael pointed out in the comments section of my last post). And I’d given myself one week to finish this draft OR ELSE (though I don’t think I bought my threat. I know I’m a softy).
But mostly, all I was doing was banging my head against the wall and given myself brain damage. The ending was dragging itself out worse than a vampire Pee-wee Herman death scene.
Thusly, I decided to stop thinking about it.
I thought about a different story for a little bit. I read a bunch of excellent graphic novels. I worked on the skirt I’m sewing as a Christmas gift for my niece. I watched way too many episodes of The Millionaire Matchmaker and Cheaters.
Then one morning as I was brushing my teeth, I got it. I understood exactly how to resolve my conflict.
And it was so simple. Instead of trying to push forward into a new chapter, I needed to go back a couple of chapters and follow through on the action already in place. So obvious! Additionally, because of this change in my projected order of events, it meant I had my last two chapters already (basically) written.
Triple super awesome!
I couldn’t get over the incredible simplicity of my solution. So freakin’ simple that I couldn’t see it, and maybe never would have seen it if I hadn’t taken a step back and let the story spring forward at its own time.
Sometimes you have you have to do that butt-in-chair thing. If you never make yourself write when things get difficult you’ll never learn how to push yourself past your own expectations.
But sometimes it’s just as important to get up and go watch some reality TV.
So…yeah. I finished my rewrite.
(On to the revision!)