First Drafts and the Need to Flee

Is it just me, or does every writer get to a point in their first draft where they want to run away from it? I am closing in on the finishing line of my latest project, and for some reason, the closer I get to the end of the book, the harder it gets to stay in the chair. I am fascinated by this phenomenon, because it has never happened to me before. Or at least, I don’t remember it happening. Hmmm…

Could it be that I don’t want the book to end? I love these characters…they have brightened my life. So perhaps part of my mind is reluctant to put those words down, the most blessed words in the English language, The End.

There is certainly a build up of tension as I approach the climax and denouement of this novel. Just as the tension builds in the story, it seems to build beneath my skin, making me jumpy, compelling me to rise from my work to make a cup of tea, grab another bit of bagel, to turn on the internet and see what my friends are up to…

You get the idea.

So how do I avoid this need to flee? I don’t. I do often get up for a bagel. I do make endless cups of tea. But always, no matter how tense I get, I come back to the chair. That is how we win in the end with every piece of writing. We keep coming back until it is finished. I haven’t found a magic formula to make this aspect of the writing life any easier. I suppose it is simply one of those times when I have to accept that something is hard…and then do it anyway.

5 Responses to “First Drafts and the Need to Flee

  • Even after so many years and so much evolution the “fight or flight” response is alive and well (and not just in authors I suspect). So glad you chose to fight on to the end (and I am sure all your readers are glad as well) but a few detours to nosh are surely permissable).

  • maybe it’s the characters wanting you to think and extra min. before you put the words in their mouths. (giggle)

  • Christy
    8 years ago

    Sophie, you are so right. Fight or flight is alive and well in me. 🙂 And I am glad I chose to fight it out. We all do, or no books would ever get printed. 🙂

    Sandy, what a brilliant point! Maybe it’s my characters who really want to run away from the book…

  • I love Sandy’s comment. I wouldn’t have thought of that — and it makes me giggle, too.
    I share that feeling, though, especially near the end of a novel, and I’ve always thought it’s just what you’ve suggested. I don’t want to reach the end because I want to linger in that fictional world a little longer…

  • Christy
    8 years ago

    It’s true, DeAnna…I do like to stay in the world I’ve created with my characters. But I also want to finish it, to begin the next step on the road to making the book complete. It is an odd dichotomy, the need to flee from the book and the need to finish it.

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