I am incredibly close to the end of the first draft of my second novel. Scary close. And I am afraid to end it. Maybe it's procrastination. Certainly a believable theory given my reputation. Revising is way harder and less emotionally rewarding than drafting, the eventuality of sending it off for critique is mildly terrifying (okay really terrifying), and I can avoid those things simply by not writing the end. Just keep telling everyone that it's a work in progress. Then I don't have to let anyone else read it (including myself) and decide whether or not it is worthy of being read in the first place. It's like a nearly finished sweater that I keep stuffing back into the knitting basket so no one can look at and judge the mistakes.
Okay, procrastination, lack of confidence, all good theories. Then there's my weird desire to have the ending be a melodramatic moment in my life. When I finished the first draft of STREETLIGHTS, it was on a Friday night during Write Club, a now defunct group of writers on Twitter that cheered each other on all day via thirty minute writing sprints. I wrote a huge chunk of my book during those sprints and was thrilled to finish it with my virtual cheering squad alongside me, especially my friend and amazing sprint leader, Stephanie. Also, that night our local college had a concert and there were fireworks. Fireworks. To celebrate my accomplishment of course. But tonight? It's an ordinary Monday. And I'm not ready to celebrate just yet. So I stare at the last chapter title (aptly named "sixty four") and write cute notes to myself instead of finishing the story. Then I go onto my blog and waste more time talking about how I don't want to write the ending.
Endings are hard, yo. There's emotional stuff. Lots of it. Both in the story itself and in the writer's psyche. It can't just be me. I know there are others out there who feel the same way. Or maybe not. Maybe they rush through the last few chapters, eager to get their ideas down before they fade away. Eager to finish the story they felt compelled to tell. But for some reason I'm just not ready to write THE END. I know it's not goodbye. I will spend the next several months (after the designated first draft stewing period) in an intimate relationship with my characters, dissecting their every move, every eyebrow raise and turn of phrase. They will continue to live in my head like real people - talking to me during sleepless nights, pointing out the plot holes they're afraid to fall into.
So what's my problem, then? What am I afraid of?
It's 4/4/16. A good date, mathematically. The kids are in bed, and there are about 30 minutes before my husband gets home. My trusty sidekick cat is here to cheer me on with her snoring, and I've got saltines and dairy free butter for fuel.
Guess I'll give it a go. Stay tuned, faithful readers.