ON FINISHING A NOVEL

It has been some time since I last wrote a post on this blog. Life happened and, crucially, writing took place! Seven months after deciding to reshape my story entirely, I am now in the process of writing the last three chapters. Even though the end of the story feels like the most difficult part to pen, this time around, I have decided to approach it with a different mindset. Instead of dreading it, I’m being playful, refusing to put pressure on myself. As a result, I’m taking my time, more time than usual I might add, to write chapter 50, and will then move on to chapter 48 and 49.

Some of you faithful readers might find this surprising. In fact, although writers spend a considerable amount of time structuring the story, developing the arc, checking the chronology and dates, the writing process in itself is rarely chronological. This seems perhaps counterproductive, odd even, but having lived with the story and characters for many years and having moved chapters around many times, I can easily jump back and forth in the story without ever losing the plot. Such a flexibility is particularly useful, because it allows for a more seamless layering of the story, which can only happen once you’ve written most of it.

Finishing a novel isn’t painful – you might recall that I don’t believe in suffering while writing ! – nor do I feel sad at the prospect of saying goodbye to my characters. However much I’ve enjoyed writing their stories and developing their psychology, ultimately, I write novels for others to read and neither my story nor my characters belong to me. Readers will bring their own experiences and emotions when reading it. And if I have done my job well, they will make my story theirs.

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