Writing a book is hard. If you’re an aspiring writer, and you have not yet realized that truth, heed my words. Writing is hard. Finding the motivation is hard. Editing is hard. All of it is hard. It’s all rewarding too—don’t get me wrong. After all, that’s why we do it. Since I started focusing seriously on writing last year, I can’t keep the book ideas at bay. Though it’s difficult work, I can’t imagine no longer having this outlet. I am happy when I’m writing. I feel like a part of me is missing, when I go a week or longer without working on my novels.
Writing takes a lot of work, but it’s worth it to me. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to complain from time to time. It’s tough to drag those beautiful plots from your brain onto paper, to find out that the transition didn’t turn out quite as you had hoped. Something went awry en route. This was my exact experience in writing the resolution of my romance novel. Some writers may start with a general idea of plot and a really strong sense of where they want to end their story—not so with me. The general idea of my novel has flowed onto paper pretty well, but I’m totally stuck with how it should be resolved.
This should be easy. Romance is a very specific genre requiring certain very specific elements—one of which is a happy ending (or a “happy for now” ending, I suppose, if someone is writing a series—I’m not). Basically my male and female protagonists must be brought happily together in the end. No problem. Except how do I make that happen without being too campy, too cliché, or too phony?
I’ve written the thing, but I’m not sure if it fits with the overall book. I tell myself that there are certain scenes that, if fleshed out further, will cause the resolution to fit more naturally in the big scheme of things, but I’m not certain that’s true.
A proper resolution is not just supported by prior scenes in the book. My resolution also has to be true to my characters themselves. Maybe I need to expand upon their characteristics and backstories more before I can truly know how they’d respond to each other at such a critical point in the story. It seems so simple, having written this, but, trust me, it’s not.
Sometimes what we imagine in our heads does not live up to our expectations when that imagination is brought into reality, but sometimes it does. After all, this whole novel started as a single idea in my head. Much of what I had dreamed up has come down onto paper just fine… Sure it needs a lot of editing, but, for the most part, the puzzle pieces are fitting together just fine. I shouldn’t feel like this is such a big deal. I know there’s a story here, because I’ve written it. Every story has a resolution, and this one is no different. I know it’s going to take work to find a proper resolution, but I will find it.
Right now it feels less than satisfying because my story feels incomplete and such a significant piece of it is missing. I have to put my misgivings out of my mind for now and trust the process. I know deep down that everything will work itself out, but it’s just difficult to believe in that right now. I never thought I would experience stronger feelings of self-doubt once I had actually completed the first draft than I had prior to its completion. Having an unsatisfactory resolution is exacerbating these feelings.
I also hate my title and am struggling to come up with something more fitting.
I will survive and my book will survive too. Both of us will be the better for the struggle (hopefully). For now, I plan to continue taking it chapter by chapter, focusing on edits in sequential order. Maybe a new resolution and title will come to me in a fever dream. One can hope, right?
What kinds of things are you struggling with this week? Feel free to drop a line—misery loves company!
Music inspiring my writing (and editing) this week: “Another Lifetime” by Nao and “Those Nights” by Bastille