Had that feeling last night that I’m probably going to finish this book

Still working on my book for adults (tentatively titled The Storytellers). I find that with novels, they tend to fall apart in one of four places: the second chapter; midway through the first act; the end of the first act; and one chapter into the second act. The most upsetting and confusing of these points is the final one. Because at this point in the book I’ve often put in a lot of work–anywhere from a few weeks to a few months–and I’ve introduced all the characters and conflicts. I’ve often plotted out the entire rest of the book, and it all seems good to go. But instead I find myself procrastinating. When I write, I just end up spinning my wheels. Weeks or months pass without anything happening.

Usually the problem is that for whatever reason the first act of the book just doesn’t have enough. The problems aren’t big enough. There aren’t enough characters. Or I haven’t really defined what kind of book this is. Essentially the logic of the book hasn’t cohered. At this point I either need to rewrite the first act, or I’ve got to give up on the thing.

But the corollary is that if I don’t lose interest by this point, then I’m probably going to go ahead and finish the book.

Was thinking yesterday that this is an awesome accomplishment. A novel is such an immense thing. It’s not just a story; it’s an entire world. And to finish a novel means spinning up a universe out of nothing. No matter how intense the feeling of transport is for the reader of the book, the feeling for the author is even greater. When I finish writing a book, I’ve come as close to actually being there as I am capable of coming. It’s day-dreaming, but taken to a new level.

Sometimes I think about writing, and I’m like…I could write about literally anything. I could write about depressed black holes that fall in love with sentient funguses. But I don’t. Because the truth is you can’t actually write about anything at all. Only when the story comes from deep inside are you really able to give it that spark of life.

One thought on “Had that feeling last night that I’m probably going to finish this book

  1. Am

    Ah, just read part of Julia Cameron’s “The Right to Write” that talked about this part of a book. So it’s not just you!

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