Getting to THE END

I’m participating in my first Friday Five today because, well, I’ve been thinking about The End a lot lately. My WIP is technically in the revision stage, but in actuality I’m completely rewriting the last 20,000 wordsβ€”trying to get to The End for the second time with this book. Here’s what I absolutely need to hit it.

  1. Word goals. 2,000 words a day. Every day. I make myself hit it. It keeps the urgency in my story and gives me a real sense of accomplishment.
  2. An alarm clock. I wake up early each morning to write. I’m at my most productive first thing, when the house is still and quiet, before the madness of the day starts. I generally bang out half of my daily word goal in that first morning hour.
  3. An outline. Once upon a time, I styled myself a pantser. It took me over a year to write my first book (a very, very early draft of FOUR STONES)β€”a meandering, wordy, bloated epic that had no point at all. The end product was capital AWFUL, and I’ve been a plotter ever since. Having a good outline is so essential to seeing that word count tick up each day. There’s a lot less getting stuck on plot points and a lot more time for writing.
  4. My husband. He’s always willing to take my daughter out for the day on the weekend so I can have the house to myself to write. He puzzles through plot issues. He listens to all the crazy ideas I come up with. He gets me excited about my story when I’m not feeling it. And that pushes me closer to The End.
  5. You. Yep, you. Fellow writers. Your books and WIPs inspire me. You teach me new writing methods. If you go on Twitter and announce you’re doing #1K1H, chances are I’ll do it too (assuming I have a free hour). You listen to me whine when things aren’t going exactly as I pictured them, and you help me keep going. So thank you. I couldn’t do it without you.

What about you? What are your absolute musts for getting to THE END?

Posted in Writing Tagged

17 Responses

  1. Holly says:

    Awesome list, Meredith. I’m so with you in the “once a pantser, now a plotter” camp. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for participating!

  2. Susan says:

    Wow…your 5 sound pretty much like mine.

    1) BICHOK! I do a minimum 2 scenes a day, be that editing or writing new ones. It averages between 2-3K. On good days I do more, but I never let myself do less… Or…in theory. There are SOME days (ahem, today, por ejemplo) I do less.

    2) An outline/plan. I don’t ALWAYS know where I’m going exactly, but I do have a clear plan of what the current scene I’m working on has to have.

    3) Husband. For the same reasons minus the kid (though that’ll happen one day. ;))

    4) Other writers and readers. Just like you say–that peer “pressure” is vital. As is the pressure of knowing people will one day READ my book (even the books that haven’t sold yet, by golly).

    5) Printer, colored pens, post-its, etc. I’m SUCH a visual editor, I can’t live without printing my book…and color-coding the crap out of my edits. I rip the story apart (like literally cut up with scissors) and then sew it back together (again, literally taping it back together in new orders), and the only way to keep that organized is by using colored pens and stuff.

    • Meredith says:

      Your editing process fascinates me. I too HAVE to print my book out, but I tend to make plot notes on a separate piece of paper (and by piece of paper, I really mean like a dozen different notecards. I love me some notecards). Then I make character and voice and everything else notes on the document itself. I’ve played around with color coding, but making every single note I need in blue pen in the margin seems to work for me. I need to re-read your posts on how you edit because I do think it’s really cool.

  3. Awesome on the alarm clock – I’ve tried that before, but never got much done. (Not a morning person). But I do set aside specific time to write, with no distractions, and I seem to get more done that way.

  4. Colin says:

    Great Friday Fives list, Meredith! Outlining!! Yes!! I don’t think I could be a pantser. I need to know where the story’s going. That one didn’t make my list, but it easily could have. And I’m with Jennifer on the alarm clock thing. I’m only a morning person because work tells me I have to be. But whatever time my body’s at work, my mind doesn’t really engage until after about 9:30am. I can’t imagine what drivel I would write early in the morning! But that’s cool if it works for you. πŸ™‚

  5. Crystal says:

    Nice list! I envy your morning person-ness. I can never get things accomplished in the mornings. And husbands are such huge helps, aren’t they?

    Love your blog, BTW. Super cute.

  6. This is a great list. My hubby is willing to help me out with plot and take one for the team when I need a day or week or month. And if you are around this weekend, perhaps we should plan a #1k1h date.

  7. Meredith says:

    YES. I’ll be around most of the weekend, so hit me up on twitter! πŸ˜‰

  8. Connie says:

    On my list is 15 minutes a day, no matter how “bad” I feel. Usually once I spent 15 minutes working with the words, the word flow starts working again.

  9. Karen Strong says:

    As a plot chick, I love your #3. And also #1 keeps the urgency level high. Unfortunately, this is my stumbling block. So now I want to get back on track (I’m rewriting/revising my end too) and striving for an hour a day.

  10. Susan says:

    I am a plotter as well! And wow, that is wonderful that your husband helps you like that. πŸ™‚ I know it sounds cheesy, but it warms my heart.

  11. Great list! Goals are so important, as well as rewards! I can’t believe I forgot those!

    Good luck with finishing!

  12. Mary Mary says:

    God bless your husband for listening to all your crazy ideas! Mine’s pretty good at that too. Best of luck with those last 20,000!

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