Monday, January 6, 2014

Inspiration Monday: Start at the Finish

My last post was about how I want to finish things this year.

I still do.

I really do.

I want to as much as the person who put a curb and a stop sign and a little piece of road here with the full intention of connecting it to bigger piece of actual road.

Maybe the stop sign is for the deer. Makes sense.

I usually get about that far with my projects, too. Why? I have never not wanted to finish things I start. So why don't I finish them?

I have no idea. Well, truth be told, I have a lot of ideas, but to mention them here would be to finish the thought and that would be against type.

Sometimes when writing fiction I get so into the story, I feel like I'm a reader and not the writer. I cruise along dropping one word after the next in a thrilling creative fury. I fall for the heartthrob, I suspect everyone of the murder, I wonder just what heart-wrenching thing happened to the troubled protagonist to bring on such intriguing emotional scars. I wonder and write and make it up as I go along, twisting here, turning there...until I hit a wall.

Smash. Splat.
When I hit a wall, I hit it hard. Headfirst at a hundred miles and hour, and then...nothing. Complete darkness. Instant creative coma.

After that point, I start tiptoeing around my work like it is some kind of shrine to the creative consciousness that once made it alive. I read through it reverently and speak of it in hushed tones, afraid I might disturb what vestige of memory I have left of what it was to inhabit that world. The words themselves become sacred, like artifacts that should be only studied, and even that from afar.

This, of course, is a crock. There is nothing about any of my words that makes them sacred. My face will not melt off Indiana Jones-style if I dare move one of those precious words or (gasp!) ADD MORE WORDS TO KEEP THEM COMPANY.

I know this. I know it and I know it and I keep knowing it. But I never seem to do anything about it.

Therein lies my problem. I think maybe the key to finishing some fiction is to finish it first and start it later. Then I won't have a finishing problem, I'll have a starting problem, and I can't have a starting problem for a project that already has a finish. (Thank you, Roald Dahl, for creating Willy Wonka, because without him as a casual backhand reference, people would assume I am as crazy as I actually am.)

What I mean is this: if you have even a fraction of the difficulty in completing projects as I do, let's try a little experiment. Let's begin at the end. Draft out a whole expansive, fully formed, nicely written ending. It should grab you by your neck and hold on to you. It should make you want out to rush out and buy your own next book. Most importantly, for crying out loud, no matter WHAT, it was NOT all a dream.

Once you've crossed the finish line, taking a stroll back to the starting line should be like a walk in the park.

(As long as you don't get lost on your way to the park.)

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