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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Actually, I think 'plot hole' is the wrong description. I know what needs to happen, but I haven't found a satisfying way of making it happen yet. It's more like a 'logistics hole.'
I forgot to mention that, for me at least, drinking helps. And cigars. And listening to a lot of raucous blues on my iPod.
It's really helped to read that almost everybody goes through this.

I think that too much time away isn't a good thing for me, plus I don't think it's possible. Even though I'm fatigued, I still put in my time on it every day -- it's become a habit and something of an obsession. I think part of what's going on is that I'm missing the early days, when everything was fresh and at the end of the day I had ten more pages than the day before. That was such a rush! Now the work is harder and some days at the end of the day I have the same number of pages, with different words in a different order. It's not as 'clean' an accomplishment. However, I do think it's getting slowly better. I just wish it would get better faster.

Thanks for everybody's comments...
Well, it appears that complaining is the cure. Shortly after I posted this, I closed the gaping hole in my novel. It's now a full, readable, complete story, and I am once again stoked! Champagne all around!

The others are right - we all feel this. It's like the marathon runner hitting what they call 'the wall.' They wonder why they ever started the run, think about quitting, hurt like heck - but keep running. I remember Ernest Hemingway saying 'A half finished book is no book at all; finish it.' On cold mornings, when I don't feel like writing, my wife just calls out 'Ernie,' and I think of that quote. -- Write the jacket copy as you imagine it will be. That motivates me, and helps me to focus the story, too. You could take a couple days off and produce the video trailer for the book as another way of envisioning it completed. I've done this with my WIP - PIP? - "VIPER" (it's on YouTube now). Taking a break is a good idea as long as you use some time way to simmer ideas or allow them to arise (then jot them down somewhere). Just remember the old saying: If you leave your art for one day, she will leave you for three.

Oh man that is so true. I took a week off from The Book early on, and then couldn't get back into the swing for almost a month. It sucked.
I've been writing for a long time. I'm terribly undisciplined. I'll start several projects at once, put one down, pick up another. I got tired of writing my novel so I stopped and wrote two short stories and sent them out. I returned to my novel yesterday refreshed. Also, sometimes it helps to talk to someone, anyone, to get back on track. I'm not talking about whining or psychoanalysis. I talked to my agent yesterday and her just sounding interested in my novel put me back on track. Fatigue is a fact. Depression can hit for no reason at all. If all it took to write a novel was to write one page a day, we'd have one done every year. Sometimes you just need a break, a massage, a trip, or something physical. Where did I hear this: "Move a muscle, change a thought."
A year is nothing. My new book took four years. My graduate school professor's took six, though it is 600 pages long. Mine is only 330. So she's the speedy one.
My memoir took seven years. A book of poems takes me about 10. My novel is about two years old now and I feel reasonably confident that I will have a full draft by this summer. I have no major plot holes yet, but the more crime fiction I read, the easier it seems for me to solve plot problems. As writers, we have complete freedom of imagination.
You know what I do when I'm not motivated? I grab a bag of popcorn, a can of coke, hop on the computer and log onto THIS site. I run through the forums and read what all these amazing writers have to say. Then I realise that they're published and I'm not. And since I want them to like me, I figure I should probably get published too, so I fit in! That's really all the motivation I need.
I like you already, Jessica. :)
Great topic for us other 'flagging floppers' !! Diaglogue !! I need heaps more, I'm reading the latest Lee Child's Reacher book, seems you need a spate of dialogue in each chapter, (Yeah I know that's a given) as us Aussies would say 'flaming hell'... I have a great flare for story telling, not much for character chatting.....Great topic Minerva, for me I play SCRABBLE online, maybe there is a word, just one word that will set the next chain reaction off.... maybe.


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