How a Book Is Born, Part 13

I’m getting closer and closer to the end, which means I have to figure out the best way to tie up the plot – to create an emotionally satisfying resolution. Often I have this in mind from the beginning, and the writing just drives toward that resolution. Many times I have known the ending before I even knew who the characters were (this happened with The Winter Promise, by Jenny Jacobs.)

But this time, while I know who ends up where, I don’t have the faintest idea how they get there.

So, I tell myself that I just have to work, hoping that I will figure it out. This is sort of scary, because I don’t have time to screw it up and have to rewrite one hundred pages. The plot is hanging together fine, and the characters seem to know what they’re doing. But the harder I try to think up the ending, the more it eludes me.

So of course the ending comes to me while I’m doing a project for my day job. I’m filling out a spreadsheet, and the ending for Catch a Falling Star just pops into my head as if it had been there all along and I just hadn’t noticed it.

This kind of serendipity is one of the reasons why I like to have lots of things on the table. I often get ideas and solutions from Project A when I’m working on Project B. If I had all my attention focused on Project A, it would probably be harder to actually get it done.


  1. I agree completely. Your subconscious mind needs time (while your conscious mind is away from the project) to work things out on its own. Things are always percolating up there! When something like that happens (a solution to a problem with the storyline, plot, ending, etc., just occurs to me “out of the blue”), it always feels like a real gift.

  2. So true! I’m not a multitasker (concentration gets shot if I attempt it), but I do work on various different projects simultaneously. For me, it’s that I’d go hopping mad if I had to focus only on ONE THING for extended periods of time, but the side effect of having one project help the other works, too!

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