Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tunnel Vision

by: Joelle Charbonneau

What kind of writer are you? Are you the kind that starts several different projects before finally settling on one that you want to take to the end? Are you the kind that needs to write more than one project at once? Maybe you like writing short stories in between chapters of a novel to keep your perspective fresh.

I’m a writer with tunnel vision. I start a project and I need to get to the end of it before I can begin another. Sometimes I have an idea for a new project that I jot down a few ideas for before I put it to the side, but I always put it to the side. Because there is a story that I am telling and until I get to the end I feel incomplete. I need to get to the end.

Right now I’m 73,000 words into the new WIP. The end is in sight. Maybe a week to ten days left of writing before I get there. Which means I’m ignoring almost everything else on my to-do list to get to closer to THE END. Nap time with the tot never seems long enough. Going out to have fun seems like a chore. I pray that my editor doesn’t send edits for MURDER FOR CHOIR to me until after I am finished because I don’t want the distraction.

Yeah – I’m sick. I need some kind of vaccination against this driving need to finish this book. But I can’t help myself. I want to finish. Then I want to get to reading the whole thing and find out if it is any good.

Which makes me wonder if I’m the only one with this kind of drive when THE END is in sight. What kind of writer are you? What is your process as you write the novel and as you start to approach THE END? Do you creep toward the final pages dragging out the enjoyment of the process or do you barrel straight ahead? And once you are done finishing a book or a story – how do you celebrate the event?


Dana King said...

I'm like you. Once I start a long project, I have to finish it before I can start something new, though I may make some notes when ideas shove their way into my consciousness out of turn. I'll occasionally write a flash piece if Patti Abbott or Dan O'Shea has a challenge, but that's about it.

Dana King said...

oops, pressed Send too quickly.

I neither push on nor drag it out. My "final" draft is a process that's fairly rigid as to time, so I'm not inspired to move ahead too quickly, which could lead to me missing something. When I'm finished with that, the book is as done as I can make it. Then, and not before, do I celebrate by typing THE END at the bottom.

I'm pretty low-key about celebrations. No booze/sex/drugs/burning furniture for me.

Steve Weddle said...

I made a solemn pledge on my collection of Patrick Duffy memorabilia that I'd finish this collection before I started anything else. So far, we're four months in working on nothing else of my own. Still don't have a million-dollar contract, so it looks like this is the wrong way to go, too.