fear of tension

I once read somewhere that the last 20% of a book is harder to write than all the 80% before it. I’ve been opening my book lately, rereading the last lines (right before a minor fight scene, major discovery, and pre-discussed setting), and I promptly freeze up and try to think of something else that I could do.

It’s a little like drawing. I have sketchbooks filled with character sketches, half-finished, because I’m too afraid to draw the second eye. I’m terrified that they won’t match and that I’ll have indented and smudged the paper if I get it wrong. There’s nothing worse than a very cool character that comes out cross-eyed.

I always do this before important scenes. I do this in drawing… I even do this when I’m reading. Sometimes it’s so hard to open up a book and read that first page. And when I do work up the nerve, I sit down and gush it all out at once, like a tsunami when the tide was due to come in. My goal for today is to end that scene… be it five hundred words or five thousand.

Anybody else run into this problem? How do you get over it?

4 thoughts on “fear of tension

  1. I have problems with middles. Bye the times I’m at the last 20% of a book I just want the dang book done and I tend to skim over alot of what needs to happen.
    To get over the slow parts, I goals, 500 words, 1000 words or 1500 what ever it’ll take to get over the slow parts of the book.

  2. Endings are awkward, in that a project can be such fun you don’t want to get it done. They can also be awkward if all the little bits where you went off plan suddenly come back to bite (which has happened to me). Hopefully though, if everything has been building towards it, there’s enough momentum to see you through.

  3. Honestly, it’s always been the other way around for me. When I start a project I’ve always got a little bit of the start and the last few pages in mind. But the middles kill me.

    One interesting piece of advice I got once about writing endings was to try writing the most idiotic ending in the history in the world, the idea being that you couldn’t help but start think about how it should REALLY be ending.

  4. So, I think I wrote my ending about ten times for Trentwood’s Orphan. I knew the mood that I wanted to portray, but I didn’t know how to get it to the page. I still don’t know if I got it to the page, but I know that I’m satisfied with the ending.

    My only advice would be to force it out the first time. Then leave it alone, for at least a day. That helped me. I read over it, dissatisfied, and tried it again. And again, and again. You’ve got to have something to work with, otherwise that blank page will continue to torment you.

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