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thethinker42
06-19-2009, 08:14 AM
With all but one of my last several books, I've hit a wall around the same spot. Usually the 3/4 point...then the last 10,000 words are like pulling teeth, the last 5,000 are pure agony, and the last 1,000 make me swear so much I actually start making up new swear words just for variety. It doesn't matter how long it took me to write the draft in question or how many words it is, same thing happens every time. I'm guessing part of it has to do with the fact that I write out of sequence - so by the time I'm down to the last few chapters, it's nothing but the chapters I haven't felt like writing up to this point. That, and by this point, I'm just ready for the book to be DONE.

I'm hitting that point right now with Breaking the Rules. It doesn't help that I have another WIP waiting in the wings, calling to me like a damned siren, but I'm not starting it until I finish this one.

Of course, as a wise philosopher by the name of scarletpeaches reminds me whenever I reach this point, the only way out is through. So I plow through it, and come hell or high water, hit the finish line. As with every book before it, I'll make it to the end.

But does this happen to anyone else? Do you reach a point when you just want it to be OVER? This is the thread for wangsting, commiserating, and generally banging our heads against the wall that is...well...erm...the wall.

I'll start: :Headbang:

Cassiopeia
06-19-2009, 08:31 AM
It's so odd, that you would post this tonight. I was just in the shower thinking of a similar thread. I, too, have a few WIP's and two of them want attention and I'm trying so hard to stick to this one and finally finish at least ONE of them.

The problem I'm having at the moment is that this one is a rewrite of an old WIP. I've mentioned it before. From Third person to First. And I just hit three consequtive chapters of utter crap-o-la. And I want to run for the hills. Still the ideas of the story are sound and so is the plot, it's just oh my word, the info dumps and the telling and blah blah blah...I want to scream and give up.

I end up saying, Cuss it! (yes I say that) about a bazillion times. I hate it, I dread sitting down at the computer. I know I have to do it. I'll never live with myself if I don't.

So yes, I do understand. :Headbang: Normally I'd give in and write the other ones, pulling at me but I've wondered if anyone else feels that would be counter productive and I should just stick it out.

Salis
06-19-2009, 08:34 AM
I don't really have this problem specifically. If anything, I find as I go on it becomes easier, things start falling into place.

I do have a sort of problem in that I become very nervous about the integrity/quality of the piece as I go on, but that's natural.

Cassiopeia
06-19-2009, 08:37 AM
I don't really have this problem specifically. If anything, I find as I go on it becomes easier, things start falling into place.

I do have a sort of problem in that I become very nervous about the integrity/quality of the piece as I go on, but that's natural.Yes, I've found that is probably the worst of it. My internal editor starts kicking in at about 20k words and I want to just strangle it.

Salis
06-19-2009, 09:02 AM
Yes, I've found that is probably the worst of it. My internal editor starts kicking in at about 20k words and I want to just strangle it.

My problem isn't really with any particular line or piece of writing, but with this niggling worry that the whole doesn't gel into a piece with a plot people actually care about/are invested in.

Cassiopeia
06-19-2009, 09:15 AM
My problem isn't really with any particular line or piece of writing, but with this niggling worry that the whole doesn't gel into a piece with a plot people actually care about/are invested in.*nod* I can relate to that. I think sometimes discouragement shouts at us that we are so bad at this that we question everything.

keekum
06-19-2009, 09:20 AM
i hit a wall when i became a first year teacher. last summer i wrote until my head fell off, and then for the past 9 months i went into teacher mode. i only wrote during extended breaks (winter break, spring break), and even then i only wrote a little. i became nostalgic for writing, though (especially since i was teaching a creative writing class and it made me feel like a hypocrite since i wasn't doing much writing myself), and yet now that i have free time again it's been tough falling back into the groove...

i think next year i'm going to try to make more time to write during the school year.

blacbird
06-19-2009, 10:18 AM
My wall arises at the moment when something is "ready" to be sent out. Because I know, from experience, exactly what the response will be.

caw

Cassiopeia
06-19-2009, 10:20 AM
My wall arises at the moment when something is "ready" to be sent out. Because I know, from experience, exactly what the response will be.

cawBut you still send it out, right?

blacbird
06-19-2009, 10:23 AM
But you still send it out, right?

Well, up until about the beginning of 2008. At which point the years of uniformity of rejections for everything sent an obvious message. Perhaps I'm trainable.

caw

ORION
06-19-2009, 10:26 AM
It happens with me on every single book. I find I just have to muscle through. Alice Hoffman was talking about the same thing in a live interview she gave-
I never have a straight shot to home. And my revisions get really gnarly.
When I talk to other authors at the Hawaii Writers Retreat most say the same thing. It doesn't get easier each book it gets harder or just as hard...

5bcarnies
06-19-2009, 10:32 AM
The last paragraph in Birth of a Vixen had me tangled in ways I hadn't experienced before. It needed to be something that made the reader think, wow that was one heck of a ride, while still letting them know there is another book still to come. It took five smoke breaks, mindless drumming on the keys(without producing a single word) and a little over an hour of me reading the last chapter out loud over and over again. Then bam! I had it because, like thethinker42 mentioned, I wouldn't let up. I overcame the problem because I went through the problem.

aadams73
06-19-2009, 01:32 PM
I have the same problem every time. Endings are torture for me. I just keep on keeping on and push through it.

Then I have a stiff drink.

gothicangel
06-19-2009, 02:02 PM
I think I hit my first wall at 20,000 and have just walked through another at 35,000.

I don't really have problems writing the last few thousand words; it's more writing the plot's dramatic climax that always ends up cr*p and flat.

efkelley
06-19-2009, 03:38 PM
I know how this goes. I run into it myself, as I'm sure many many many others have.

But.

Quoth the Heinlein:

Rule # 2: You must finish what you write.

Aggravating, but true.

thethinker42
06-19-2009, 03:42 PM
Quoth the Heinlein:

Rule # 2: You must finish what you write.

Aggravating, but true.

Amen to that...

Lisa Cox
06-19-2009, 04:32 PM
I've hit a wall at 20k. I dread to think how much worse it's going to get as I wade further into the novel. o.0

KTC
06-19-2009, 04:48 PM
It's an actual wall for me. Signpost up ahead: 30,000 words. It gets me every time.


I have occasionally gone on to write the last 10K or so...I never have a problem with how I want things to end. But then I have to seam the ending on to the 30K and that's where difficulty ensues. That's why I try really hard to just break the wall and keep on going.

Tburger
06-19-2009, 04:57 PM
Man is this so true. Alway, always, always, I hit my wall at 40-50K. So I always write several things simultaneously; that way I have something to edit/revise/write when I get sick of one thing.

sleepsheep
06-19-2009, 05:08 PM
With my last WIP, I hit the wall AFTER an agent signed me. That novel was my first attempt, and the agent took a real chance on me, I figure, because the work needed quite a bit of editing. I imagined that it would be smooth sailing after I got an agent, and didn't expect a series of tedious and horrible re-writes. So, that was a tough point for me.

Having gone through that, and currently working on a new WIP (as well as plotting a few others) my problem is not so much of hitting the wall, but rather questioning the overall quality of the writing and ideas as I go along. My current WIP seemed like a fantastic idea when I was outlining it, but now that I'm going into the story chapter by chapter, I wonder about the genre, the story, the quality, and so on.

Jersey Chick
06-19-2009, 05:08 PM
The last 10k kill me every time. I just want to. get. the. story. finished.


I've always got at least one other WIP waiting in the wings - right now I've got 3 and they're like kids - the only time they want my attention is when I'm with one of the others. And they don't. shut. up.

And by the time I'm finished with one, I hate it and never want to see it again - until I finished another one. By then, I'm ready to deal again.

Phaeal
06-19-2009, 05:54 PM
No particular walls for me. Once I have my detailed outline, I can power through. I do hit a sort of tsunami in the last fifth of a WIP, a solid wall of desire to be done that sweeps me through those chapters. Sleep, meals, ordinary pursuits, all get swept aside. Once I was powering through the end of a WIP when a centipede walked across my desk. I HATE centipedes, but I merely flicked this one off the desk WITH MY BARE HAND and kept writing.

Now THAT'S a writing trance. ;)

I also write straight through from front to back, no skipping around. Don't know if that's a factor toward preventing blocks.

scarletpeaches
06-19-2009, 06:01 PM
I can write 10k in one day (I can't help boasting about that; bite me) but sometimes when I need 10k to finish a story? Jesus, it takes me weeks.

It's not so much a word count that gets me, but the 75% mark of my estimated word count.

With LTC I didn't know where that 3/4 mark was going to be as the word count target kept moving its own goalposts, so...it hit me at round about 100k, with that one. I got so pig-sick of the damn characters - yes, even the male MC - that I just wanted it done, done, done.

I'm at that point with DAE. Nearly, nearly at 100k and I just want to bitchslap the whole lot of them. I want to scream at my characters, "I'll be revenged on the whole pack of you!"

(Mad reps to anyone who gets that reference).

Like Lori, as always, I have another story trying to seduce me away from DAE but if I jump from this book to that, DAE won't get finished and NeuroFizz will be cross, so...

Yeah. Only way out is through. Push, push, push.

I hate the wall. Arsing well hate it. Why can't I write shorter books? WHY?

Oh, because then I'd hit the wall at 50k as opposed to 100k.

Funny, that, how the wall moves according to my guessed length of story. Probably something to do with me thinking, "Nearly done," and I start to pull up. Maybe I should tell myself to aim for 200k, so I start to pull up at 150k, and whoa! Finished, before the wall makes itself a problem.

ChaosTitan
06-19-2009, 06:55 PM
The last 10-15k is usually the easiest for me. Once I reach that point, I have a clear idea of how it's going to end and am eager to get there.

It's often around 20-25k that I get stuck. The story has gotten started, I have a problem for the characters to solve, and then.... BAM. Sometimes it's a matter of trusting my instincts and going "yes, it's okay to have a magical spider appear and try to choke the MC's mother" even though I have no idea how such an event is going to play out later in the narrative. The middle of the story is where the complications build upon each other all the way to the climax.

It's getting into the middle that confounds me sometimes.

jst5150
06-19-2009, 07:10 PM
I usually find myself stopping mid way for a number of reasons. Some are doubt, because I start looking at what I've written and going, "What?" Other times its been because I didn't have a roadmap to take me there. So, I outline much more furiously than I did when I started writing. Also, another project might steal me away (i.e., I might be getting bored writing and want to go paint or draw). That's rare.

Solutions? Find ways to purge the doubts, build ideas and write them. Also, do what golfers and baseball players in a slump do -- change routines, little or big. That might mean changing my wallpaper. It might mean meditating on the outline a little longer. Maybe holding a conversation with the main character. Something.

My challenge (maybe someone else's, too) is that, when I stop, I tend to get caught up with house, bills, work and that other whitewater rafting adventure called life. So, that's another hill to climb.

Cassiopeia
06-19-2009, 07:23 PM
I usually find myself stopping mid way for a number of reasons. Some are doubt, because I start looking at what I've written and going, "What?" Other times its been because I didn't have a roadmap to take me there. So, I outline much more furiously than I did when I started writing. Also, another project might steal me away (i.e., I might be getting bored writing and want to go paint or draw). That's rare.

Solutions? Find ways to purge the doubts, build ideas and write them. Also, do what golfers and baseball players in a slump do -- change routines, little or big. That might mean changing my wallpaper. It might mean meditating on the outline a little longer. Maybe holding a conversation with the main character. Something.

My challenge (maybe someone else's, too) is that, when I stop, I tend to get caught up with house, bills, work and that other whitewater rafting adventure called life. So, that's another hill to climb.If my house is not in order or if the bills need paying, the check book balancing, my writing comes to a grinding halt until I do it. My desk HAS to be clean, my office space as well. I feel guilty as those are my first priorities.

Susan B
06-19-2009, 09:42 PM
Oh yeah--me too! Just this week. Hit the wall at 67,000, with a goal of about 80,000.

Wrote the first draft for NaNoWrMo in November, in that great exhilarating rush of words I'd never experienced before. So different from the long, slow process of writing my first book.

Since November, I've been revising and expanding. Slow going, to get from 52,000 (my NaNo count) to where I am now. But I could see the end was in sight. Just had to expand the rather rushed final chapter of the first draft, just tie up some loose ends. Or so I told myself. Then it started to become daunting.

But what did me in was on Tuesday. I was feeling confident enough to e-mail my agent that I hoped to have something to show her by the end of the summer. (This is a self-imposed deadline, no pressure. She would have looked at it earlier, but I wanted to have a more complete draft.)

Then, that evening, I got some feedback from my writing group that felt more negative than it probably was. I'd made some revisions to the opening pages, in response to feedback. Now I got even more criticism...including what felt like questioning one key premise to the underlying mystery.
---
A few days later, I am feeling a little more balanced about it. It was mostly one guy, the point he made was worth considering and not impossible to do. And not everyone agreed....

But I have that "wind out of my sails" feeling. Stopped writing, went out and bought a writing book, a new one by Donald Maass. Somehow I think I am avoiding the issue.

bettielee
06-19-2009, 09:48 PM
Nearing page 300. It never fails. I want to stop and go through and edit and make changes and such.

This will be the first time (it will be my 4th book) I am not going to do that. The rewrite is gonna be a b.i.t.c.h.

cwfgal
06-19-2009, 10:30 PM
The first third of a book usually comes easily, as does the last third. It's the middle that always slows me down. I often stop and go back to the start and read everything I've written thus far, which almost always gives me ideas on where to go next. I also go back to my synopsis and review it to see which plot points I have yet to cover or need to expand upon. The synopsis more than anything helps to keep me going, which is why I suffer through writing one with each book. It serves as my map for the journey and while I often take detours along the way, the synopsis "map" always gets me back on track.

Beth