Do You Change Your Game Near the Finish Line?

Wow, this summer is whizzing by! And if I say so myself, I’ve pretty much been winning it (just don’t count the vegetable garden or the state of my housekeeping, or my committed daily exercise regimen). I’ve been places, done cool stuff, seen family and friends including some much needed R&R with my BadGirlz, and even managed to get some sewing projects to turn out nicely. I may even have a new day job in the works. Best of all, though, is my writing progress. I’ve gotten some great feedback from critique partners and contest judges, and my current WIP is at the 75% mark. I can see, smell, and taste that finish line! So why are things getting weird?

I wish I knew, but it’s happened before… pretty much every time. By this point in the drafting process, I feel like I know the story inside and out. I know all the whats, whens, wheres, whys, and hows of everything that needs to take place to get me to The End. All this momentum, and motivation, too—and then I sort of stall out on my current scene. I’m usually a very chronological writer. I start on Page One and plug away until I get to the last page. But then, usually at about three-quarters through, all the later scenes start making too much noise in my head. The Black Moment, the bleakness after, the resolution scene that’s so sweet I can’t even stand it—all of these start feeling realer, better, and way easier to write than the thing I’m working on. And the thing I’m working on happens to be a decently juicy scene, too. Whole sections of dialogue, fully detailed descriptions, and awesome one-liners are now bouncing around in my head for scenes that are a couple of chapters down the road. My current scene feels like homework in comparison.

So, I’ve decided to go rogue. I’m writing the scenes down in another file, to be cut and pasted into the manuscript when the time comes. It’s resulting in word count and getting me closer to the ending… but it feels like I’m cheating. Cheating on my process? Bitch, please. For a good two years there, you didn’t even have a process. Maybe this is my process? Linear up to a point, then whatever’s going to get the job done. And the same sort of thing happened back in the old days, too. So I might be onto something. Like previous posts from Heather and Sophia, there is no one right way to do it. But I’m sure there are also more wrong ways to do it than stars in the Milky Way….

So how do you write as you approach the finish line? Do you do scenes at random when the fancy strikes, or are you a stickler for chronology? Do you have a tried and true process, or try different things each time?

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