Finding out how it ends

Having gone on (at some length) about the writing process, I’m now at the stage of Bringer of Light where I’m abandoning some of those organisational crutches.

The questions in the ‘questions’ file have all been answered (or deferred until the next book…). It’s been weeks since I’ve looked at the ‘character’ or ‘reference’ files, as anything I don’t know about my cast or world is going to be one of those ‘unknown unknowns’ and will probably remain undiscovered until I start thinking about the rewrites. The ‘outline’ file, previously the repository of most of the unused plot, has itself become unused.

I still have the ‘timeline’ table open as I write, but that’s mainly to refresh my memory on what happened leading up to this point. The remaining notes are all in my chapter files, currently scatter-gunnered across several separate chapters as I guess where they’ll eventually be needed.

In some ways this is my favourite part of writing a first draft, when all that hard work pays off and I find out what really happens at the end (as opposed to what I thought was going to happen). In other ways it’s one of the most nerve-wracking and dangerous times. Nerve-wracking because if the damn novel doesn’t come together in a satisfying way then I’m going to have my work cut out to fix it before the delivery deadline; dangerous because in my eagerness to reach a resolution there’s a risk I might in inadvertently miss something vital, or not give the climax of the story the space it deserves and end up with a final section that comes out rushed.

Of course, there is still a fair amount of plot to get through – I’d estimate between eight and ten chapters worth – and a lot can happen in that time.

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