My abyss

Nathan Bransford writes about the nervousness that he feels when starting a new book.  He writes:

“I liken it to staring down at a deep, dark abyss. You know it's a long way down and it's pretty scary to jump.”

I have never felt this way.  In fact for me, it’s completely the opposite.  I have about a dozen ideas for books rattling around in my head, and I’m ready to start almost any of them on a moments notice.  I can’t wait.   

For me, the abyss begins to loom around the halfway point of a book, knowing that I have fewer and fewer pages left to uncover a satisfying ending.  Not knowing where a story will take me, I become disconcerted around the 40,000-60,000 word point, when the pieces of the plot haven’t quite clicked into place yet and the expected crescendo to a satisfying conclusion has yet to happen. 

Stephen King once described this feeling while writing THE STAND.  Midway through his 1,100 page novel, he had lost the thread of the story, unsure where it was supposed to go, and like me, he bean to panic, fearful that he was losing his story. 

I was feeling this way about CHICKEN SHACK for the last month of so, wondering where the hell the story was supposed to go.  I had about 45,000 words written and worried that my story was petering out just when it was supposed to be hitting third gear.  I fumbled around for a while, revising an earlier chapter and taking some hesitant, tentative steps forward until this past week, when I found the thread again, watched the pieces fall into place, and uncovered what will likely be the ending.

And once this happens, the book tends to wrap up rather quickly.  It’s taken me about eight months to write about 50,000 words, but I expect that the second half of the book will come fairly quickly and I have a decent shot to finish by my birthday in mid-February.

Abyss successfully traversed.  Writing is fun again.