By Alison Hart
For the past five months, I have been researching and writing Murphy Coal Mine Dog, which is book three in the "Dog Chronicle" series published by Peachtree Publishers. I have been working on the first draft since the middle of August, it was due Oct. 1, I got an extension, and tomorrow, I will finish it. All writers who work under deadline know the INTENSE PRESSURE to deliver a solid first draft on time. I have two other 'jobs' as well as family, dogs, horses, chores--lots of chores--so deadlines can be very difficult. They are also difficult because of my tendency to do anything that distracts me from sitting butt in chair. These include:
Hunting for treasures on Ebay. Grading papers.
Sweeping the garage. Walking the dogs.
Digging weeds . . .
You get the idea.
Finishing a book is especially difficult. I developed my writing skills writing Nancy Drew mysteries-- a dozen of them Chapters had to end with cliffhangers and tension needed to be created throughout. They weren't literary masterpieces, but I learned how to plot, plot, plot.
I wake myself up at night with ideas. Some good, some horrible. Tomorrow, I have to put those ideas on paper, three more pages that will end my book with a bang. Am I ready? Nope. Hopefully, the unconscious part of my brain that writes without me realizing it, will suddenly pop out a fantastic finale. I'm counting on it.
How do you handle endings? Do they come to you when you are least thinking about them? Do you procrastinate until you have no choice? Do you have the ending before the beginning? Please share!