I am a writer who dislikes writing endings.
Which is kind of weird, right? As a writer, I should feel happy about getting to the end of my story. It’s an achievement, something to be celebrated, even in the simplest of ways. And yet, during the past few years I’ve realized a trend when I’m about to close a work of fiction: I stall.
Two or three chapters away from my ending, I stop looking at my manuscript altogether. I read or reread books, think of new stories to write, watch dramas or films . . . I do anything to keep myself from writing those last few chapters, and all because I’ve gotten attached to my characters and don’t want to let them go yet.
It’s probably not a good thing, what I do, but hey . . . I’m pretty sure we all have our own quirks. I almost did the same routine with my #SparkNA novella, but I had a deadline to beat this time, and maybe that’s one of the reasons why I joined this class in the first place: to learn to discipline myself as a writer.
For starters, I have never really started working on any of my fiction using an outline. Ever. I don’t know why that is, but that’s how I started, and I felt that I didn’t have the need for it. I do remember though, that whenever I get stuck on a certain point of my work, I start writing scenes in phrases and bullets, figuring out what goes where and which goes first, next and last. I guess in a way, that was outlining, but I’m a mess with it.
We started #SparkNA with an outline, and at first it felt a bit daunting. I had a story in my head, I had scenes, but I didn’t really know yet how they’d bleed on my manuscript. If it’s going to flow freely or spatter and make a mess. In the middle of the class, I started deviating from the outline a bit, breaking chapters into two or completely allowing my characters to take routes I didn’t consider before. At that point, I thought that my outline was useless, but I was dead wrong.
Less than a month before the deadline, I’ve had less and less time to work on my manuscript because a lot of things were going down at work. I could barely squeeze out decent paragraphs into my manuscript and hated when I had to force out scenes and dialogue. But that was where my outline helped. I often went back and read it over and over, and forced (still) myself to stay true to my outline. It didn’t bring out something I initially liked, but it did build something I could break down and rebuild in a better way. I had an entire story completed; it was only a matter of weeding out the words I didn’t like and planting new ones that I felt would grow into more beautiful lines.
I typed the words “The End” on May 28th and didn’t touch my manuscript until a few days later, when I had to do final edits to it. (Special thanks to my friend, Rix, who has been so patient with us about this #SparkNA business.) And at exactly 1:00 am today, June 5th, I officially turned in my submission to Spark Books by way of our mentor, Mina Esguerra. How it’ll fare is still anyone’s guess, but I am crossing my fingers that they’ll give me a chance.
That being said, I am very happy to share the first chapter of Scandalized, my official Spark Books submission, HERE.
Yes, I do welcome comments. I’d love comments. <3 (Please be nice though, I have a fragile heart. Teehee.)
끝. Wakas. The End.
No matter how many times these words are written at the last page of our manuscripts, I don’t think it really means the end. Endings are beginnings to something else, and I am looking forward to the beginning that’s in store for me, for all of us who took this leap together.
Congratulations, my #SparkNA classmates! Let’s celebrate being brave! <3