fiction / novels / writing

The Last Word, Except Not

I just, not five minutes ago, typed the last word of my novel.

The last word on the last page—though it’s a first draft, so the last word will surely change once I get my hands on it and start editing.

I also have to add a missing chapter to the middle. I hope it’s just one chapter, it could be two. I’ll figure that out tomorrow.

But even though I’m not done-done, I’m almost done! Nearing done. Seeing a glimpse of done and getting jazzed about it.

I did something I’ve never been able to attempt before in order to make it through this manuscript and keep up my excitement: I skipped ahead. I’ve been known to get caught on the middle of my stories, and this time, seeing myself get stuck, I decided to skip the plot points that were confusing me. I’d write the last act and then see what needs to happen in the missing sections to merit the end. I’ve written final pages before to get a feeling for the last scene, but I’ve never skipped ahead this significantly without knowing what would happen. I always had to write in order, I forced myself to do it that way. But I broke my own rule this month and guess how it feels? Exhilarating.

Middle: I think I know just what you need now. I’m coming back for you. Get ready.

12 thoughts on “The Last Word, Except Not

  1. Congrats! I skipped to the end once, and it worked to help me get a grip on the middle…Of course that only helps when you know how the story ends to begin with!

  2. *STANDING OVATION* yes–I too, inspired by John Irving’s speech at AWP, decided to skip around and ahead in my novel. TOTALLY liberating. I am glad it has served you well!


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  4. Oops, well if skipping ahead is not allowed, then I’m doing it wrong. I definitely skip too! The only thing, I guess, is that you consider those later parts only hypothetical until you can get the middle part working to earn the ending. And be willing to let them go if they don’t fit anymore once the middle is written. I’ve been struggling with this too in my work.

  5. Laura, I definitely wouldn’t say it’s not allowed! That’s just me and my silly rules. I can be very strict with myself… except when it comes to eating chocolate when I shouldn’t. Then I don’t listen at all.

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