Saturday, August 29, 2015

Plotland Journey nearly complete

Just as one is pleasantly tired at the end of a long hike or run, so too is the novelist when penning the final scene of a novel that has been labored over for too long.  Behind the valiant novelist lay the swamps on indecision, the tangled paths within the plotting wood, and being lost in the long barren deserts of resolution.  Throughout the journey the novelist has kept an eye on the end, ever seeking the distant mountains of completion where one can pause and look back on the path they have taken, recalling with bitterness the diversions that made the road so difficult to follow.  There on the mountain the novelist can at last breathe a sigh of relief.

But the intrepid novelist will discover that the mountains of completion are not forgiving.  They care little for your past stumbling, discordant steps, your endless frustrations and the malaise that infected you thorough the seventies. The mountains ask only that you scale the terrifying cliffs of penultimate draft review, clawing from one tenuous scene to another, avoiding the landslides of contradiction, trying to establish handholds where style alone will not overcome plotting or characterization mistakes, and getting a firm foothold on the sequential order of time, place, and character.

Finding ones way through the treacherous mountains is a daunting task, taking more than half the time it took to initially cross Plotlland's wastes.  But you somehow manage to fond our way without slipping and falling into the fearsome chasm of abandonment.  You surmount all the pitfalls to reach the foot of the final climb and there discover that you are still a long way from the peak.

Between you and that peak lies the fissure of completing final draft, the chasm of beta reviews, the shaking bridge of endless corrections, and the wayside inn of drinking and sobbing.  After that, after the absolutely final, --FINAL God damn it!-- draft you still must navigate the huge boulders of rejection impeding your work's ultimate success.

The long journey almost makes a novelist wish they hadn't started working on the next one.


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