The Cavanaugh House

Coming soon! The Cavanaugh House When Jesse Graham unlocks the door to the deserted house she inherited from her Aunt Helen, she doesn’t realize she’s unlocking secrets that had lain dormant for years...

Monday, September 30, 2013

How It Feels to Write “The End”

Okay, in the spirit of transparency, I didn’t actually write the words “The End”. I did however write the end of The Cavanaugh House. My first mystery. Notice I said, “first” because I already have a second in mind. But that is for a different post.

When I finished the last scene of The Cavanaugh House, it felt wonderful, but I knew I wasn’t finished writing the book. Since I’m a Pantser, I had not plotted out the entire book; I allowed the story to unfold before me organically like a plant growing. Oh, I can hear all of my Plotter friends groaning, but really, it works for me. Now I have to go back and revise and edit so my plot is cohesive and logical. For example, the way I described the entry hall in Wyndham Manor at the beginning of the book was quite different from its description in one of the last chapters. I had to reread my initial description and correct my second one. (I think I was channeling Love’s Spirit in the latter description.)
I read an article suggesting that my first read through should be just that—a read through with no editing. Yikes! I’m a former English teacher. That red pen just showed up in my hand. I put it back on my desk, returned to the sunny spot by my kitchen window to simply read, and there was the pen, right on the table like something out of a Stephen King thriller. I relinquished the fight, picked up the pen and happily revised as I read. Write what you know; do what you know.
So even though writing “The End” doesn’t mean you’re finished, there is a deep satisfaction in realizing that at least in rough draft form, you’ve told your story.
How do you feel when you write “The End”?

10 comments:

  1. I feel like I've just run a marathon...and won. :-)

    Congrats on finishing your rough draft. Happy editing!

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    1. Krista, that's a great analogy! Energy sags somewhere in the middle, then you get a second wind and sprint to the finish...okay maybe sprint is a little optimistic :-) but I like that winning part at the end! Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Oh yes, Betty, I'm also member of the red pencil squad. And just as soon as I've written the last word in a manuscript, my fingers are twitching and itching to get started. The things I find: names with changed spellings, repeated conversations, dreadfully dull moments. How could I just read through a manuscript with all that mess? Besides, it's so much fun (I think) tearing out phrases and words and whole sections.

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    1. I agree, J. Arlene. It's fascinating to me to revisit what I've written and see all the things you've mentioned. I had one character with green eyes at the beginning and blue later in the book. I also revise as I write because I always read the previous day's writing aloud before I continue. I find tons of things to fix that way. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Betty, you write and edit exactly the way I do. Your instincts are correct; revise, correct, and edit as you read. It's the logical way to do it. May you have much future success with your mystery novels - and your historicals. I need to know what happens to Em and Jonathon next! :)

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    1. Deborah, I have begun book 3 in my American Revolution series. I struggled with the opening scene because I always want to do the deadly "protagonist ponders her fate as she drives her car (or rides her horse)" opening. One day the opening scene hit me like a thunderbolt (that cliche is so true!) and I immediately sat down and wrote it. And I'm off... LOL Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Great post. I don't know if any of my stories are ever finished. I still want to make changes to my debut novel ;)

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    1. It's so funny you should say that, Andrea. I was looking at Love's Destiny today to use a quote in a blog post I'm working on and I thought, "Oh, I have to revise this!!!" I guess that's the curse of writers :-) Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. It would be hard to read through without editing. At this point it's still difficult to write a sentence without editing. Getting to the end always feels nice, but then there's that read through, and the urge to grab the red pen. Nice to know others go through that too. :-) Good luck with your new novel!

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  6. So true, Brenna. When I taught writing I called it a recursive process - one that circles back for revision - not linear like a straight line. Yes, there is comfort in knowing that we're not alone in our obsession :-) Thanks for stopping by!

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