Saturday, 11 August 2012

JulNoWriMo Musings - Part 5

Part 5 - The Finish

For me, the ending to a story is simultaneously really easy, and incredibly problematic. It's easy because the entire sequence of incidents has been building up to this moment. Even though I'm not sure exactly what it looks like until I get there, it usually flows naturally. Yet it's problematic because I could just as easily throw another ten incidents in the way before arriving, or spin what I thought was the ending into the middle of an even larger problem, or... basically, I don't know when to stop. (I know HOW, not WHEN.)

Here, the word count for NoWriMos helps. My story is about 51,300 words because I'd been shooting for a little over 50,000. (From the JulNoWriMo forums, this ranks me 49; 85 reached the gaol.) My first unofficial attempt in August 2010 was 52,100 for the same reason (though there I'd decided early on that it would have to be part 1 of 2 - and it's stuck). Every episode of "Time Trippers" was about 10 pages. Every episode of "Taylor's Polynomials" is a few paragraphs. Give me a finite stopping point, I'm good.

Otherwise, I keep writing until I decide that I've said everything that needs saying - but there's almost always something else. Another person they could have talked to, another henchman they could have defeated, another artifact they could have uncovered. There's a very good reason why I threw a two month timeskip into "Virga" - I already sensed I had enough story to last me through the word count, and so decided I wouldn't have any key incidents during those skipped months. I could just as easily have written a whole bit about a worshipper they had to get rid of to delve more into Melissa's psyche, but no, I accomplished that in a paragraph.

So is my style a strength, or a weakness? I'm not sure. It might depend on the context. I do know that if I hadn't had a few complete days at home to just write, nothing else, there's no way I would have finished in a month. There's also the fact that, after finishing, I felt like it was absolutely required that I reread my whole story from the beginning. I located at least one loose end that I'd missed reincorporating (not the ring, the job), and thus I rewrote the climax because of it. I think the second version is stronger. (Again, if I'm crying at the ending, my hope is the reader is doing so as well. Even if sleep may be a factor on my end.)

Point being, this seems to be how I write. And while the word count for a WriMo is helpful, it's been said that the goal of these month long projects is "to get into the habit of writing", not to have a finished product. "It doesn't have to be good, it just has to be words."

For me, it has to be good. That, coupled with the fact that my web series already has me writing, plus a few other considerations, is why I'm unlikely to participate again. That said, I do feel bad for some of my stories that remain perpetually "stuck". :P If you have any generic suggestions, or are curious about anything else I've written, feel free to comment.

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