Tuesday, March 22, 2011

10 Ways to Reach "The End"

10. Turn off the internet. Seriously. And good luck; it's easier typed than done.

9. Make a list of events that have to happen for the plot to wrap up. This gives you a sense of control. This is good.

8. If you're really stuck, throw in a new plot twist. This can really help when you're staring at the blank screen with "What happens next?" in an endless loop in your brain.

7. Start at the end and work backwards. This has worked for me in the past.

6. Bribe yourself with the promise of a reward when you finish. NOTE: think 'when' not 'if'.

5. Write those scenes you've been itching to write and worry about the order later.

4. Write those scenes which scare you to death. Writing them will bolster your confidence. WARNING: writing these scenes may also have you reaching for the nearest bottle. It's all good.

3. Since you know what your final word count should be (approximately) break the remainder down into not-too-frightening segments. 1,000 words isn't frightening, but the thought of 10,000 can be paralyzing.

2. Give yourself a deadline with real consequences if you don't reach it. Fear is a wonderful motivator.

1. Reach back into the distant mists of time and remember how you felt when you first started this project. Anything that made you feel like that excited deserves to be completed.


  1. Great tips. I remember telling a writer friend who had only worked on magazine articles and was terrified at the enormity of writing a book to think of each chapter as a long feature story and not thing about THE BOOK.

  2. Elspeth - Thanks for these ideas. They really do make so much sense. I think the one I like best is breaking the project down into manageable bits. I'm one of those who only has small dollops of time in which to write, so for me, those tiny goals are much better than, "This month I'll finish the rest of the novel."

  3. Maryann; What a fantastic piece of advice! It makes the whole idea far less intimidating.

    Margot; A goal that requires only a few steps is far less scary than a goal that requires a marathon. Despite our best intentions, life does have a habit of intruding on our writing.

  4. My daily goal is to finish a scene. I can usually do that. But I tried the out of order stuff and the edits were a nightmare. Never again. It's easier to plod forward with crap and fix it, but I can't hop around.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  5. Terry; Each of us discovers what works for us. Remember, I always work from an outline, so writing scenes out of order isn't that big a deal to fix.

  6. great tips and like the others I like breaking the job down into smaller pieces. can't be short stories though - they scare me worse than novels! 7 & 5 have worked for me too. then my transitions get a bit choppy but I can smooth those out. yah, piece a cake!

  7. Jan; You go, girl!

    Carol; I think I like #9 best, simply because I like knowing I have a modicum of control.

  8. Great tips...I like to switch the order of the scenes around and do find that really helpful.

  9. Really useful, practical tips. Will tweet to our followers.

    All the best


  10. Elizabeth; It does make it easier sometimes, doesn't it?

    Iwritereadrate; Thank you very much; I really appreciate it.

  11. I force myself to turn off the internet almost every time I sit down to write. And to eliminate another potential distraction, I have officially removed my Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies icons from my laptops screen. I won't play them if I have to look for them. It works for the easily distracted.

  12. Great list here, I'm going to link it on my weekly compilation links for writers post on my blog! :-)


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