I have been working on my middle grade fiction piece for longer than I care to admit on this blog. I have shared bits and pieces of it at conferences and schmoozes with wonderfully positive feedback. Yet, I can't seem to finish it. I've put it in a drawer, written it from different points of view, plotted and replotted until my eyes crossed, but still the ending eludes me. I often think I'm so close, only to discover I've written myself into a corner, and all the characters are staring at me asking, "What are you going to do now?"
Of course I freak out, start making changes, which affect the entire story line, forcing me to go back to the beginning, middle, or somewhere, and add, delete, embellish etc., which changes everything, causing me to spend days or weeks threading the edits all the way through the story. I can happily say that the changes seem to make the story better, tighter, stronger, but this process has horrible side-effects; like never finishing.
I do know that it is possible to finish, because I read many finished books. Now I'm asking myself, Are the books I read really finished or did the author just get tired and wrote, The End, and called it a day? Are there pages and pages of unseen work stuffed away in desks all across the country that were supposed to be a part of published books, but aren't? I can stick a toothpick in a cake and if it comes out clean it's done. What do you stick in a book to know it's done? A bookmark? How do you finish? Will I ever finish?
Muse For Today: What is your secret for crossing the finish line?