This month marks a year since I started my first novel. I'm still working on it. The story framework is more or less set, though there is still one fairly substantial plot hole, and there's a lot of detailing and refinement still to do. Right now it sits at about 62,000 words. At one point it was over 90,000. When finished, I think it will run 70,000 - 80,000 words.

The problem? I'm getting tired. I want to finish the bloody thing already. It's a good book; I don't want to give up on it simply out of fatigue. Any words of wisdom from those of you who have finished a novel? How do you keep yourself going those last few grueling yards?


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I think you've got two choices, Minerva--push ahead or take a break. Even a week away from The Novel can be extremely refreshing (much more than that and it's hard to keep it in your head, at least for me). Or, lock yourself in book jail, grit your teeth and finish the damn thing--then it'll be done and off your back, at least until it's time to revise. But yes, what you're experiencing is in no way unusual--although it usually hits me around the page 150 "hump"--although there is a moment of panic around page 260 (assuming you come out at something like 320 pages, which I seem to do) in which I wonder if the whole enterprise amounts to anything, and whether it wasn't actually a bad idea.
'Book jail,' har!
Minerva--Jon's absolute correct. We all go through this. I think it'd be very rare to find a writer who doesn't become fatigued trying to finish their WIP (I hate that term, really!) For me, I step away from the book. Take time off. Find other writing pursuits, or something, to get my mind off the damn thing. And then when I go back to the book I've got a fresh perspective. I see the writing with a different set of eyes. See the plots and sub-plots differently.

You have to find the write formula that'll work for you. But stepping away for a bit doesn't hurt.
WIP - I agree, B.R., that's a dull term. It sounds like the writer is "Whipped", and just brings on the fatigue by the bushel! How about PIP -- Project in progress? Sounds more Peppy, doesn't it? ;=)
I'm usually anxious to be done with it already and move on. I push myself. This frequently causes rushed endings. But I don't have plotholes at that point, at least no big ones. Plot holes can be worked out by going away from the computer and thinking it through. Take a walk or something.
When I have novel fatigue, I write a short story. It feels like a quick dip in chilly water.
Ooh, nice metaphor, Albert!
I don't have any special advice that works for me, but I will tell you this: One day away becomes two days away. Enough days away becomes a week away. Enough weeks, ad nauseum.

I started The Novel, banged out all but the last couple chapters (have it all worked out on paper). To me, the plot is tight, plenty of action, characters are believable, no major holes. Easy, right? Something came up, I took a day away, and it turned into 4 years, 29 days and counting. I just can't do it. I can't get back to it. I've "lost that lovin' feelin".

Addicts talk about putting sober days together as a way of beating their addiction. Do yourself a favor and don't put too many sober days together.
Right on, p-2d! I can relate, but there is a way back into your passion -- you may have lost the loving feeling for that book, but you may want to bury it, have a wake, and move onto the next big thing. Just a thought...
The first time I broke the page 300-mark, I thought, "Hey, I can actually do this." So motivation was really high at that point. My low motivation point is usually at around pg 100, when there are still "miles to go" and no guarantee of resolution.

Physical activity helps. Forum discussion helps. Being a delusional optimist helps.

My motivation reaches an all-time low when it's time to market. I'm so shy by nature -- it's a true re-education to learn to throw myself and my work out there to the wolves. But they have to get a bite of me if they're going to develop a taste for my style, so it's a necessary evil.

I can assure you that whatever road you take, the end result will be a thrill that makes all of your effort worthwhile. Even if your first effort doesn't sell, your sense of accomplishment will drive you on, and having the support of your friends, family and peers will change your life.
'delusional optimist' I like that, Donna. That fit's me perfectly.
As others have said, we all go though this. It really does sound as if a break is in order. But I wonder how successfully you can finish it anyway if it really has what you describe as a "fairly substantial plot hole." All the questions have to be answered in the ending, and answered accurately. You've obviously reworked the part you have to have brought the word count down to a realistic level. But I still suggest you figure out that plot hole before moving on. Otherwise, the ending won't feel satisfying, and there's a good chance it won't work.

I suspect it's that year milepost that's getting to you. People who aren't time sensitive need to give themselves strong time-related goals, or they'll never get to the end of their projects. But people who are too time-sensitive need to remind themselves that sometimes things take as long as they take to get them right.


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