The last thing you wrote
I’ve written about 4K (of 2K – yes. It’s gruesome) today on the end to this book. I love you all dearly and all that sort of thing, but… Needs must.
The end to this book – which has more tangled threads than Heyer’s ‘worst’, BATH TANGLE – needs me to press on just that little more. Because I finally am in the zone of tying off ends – and without just killing all of the protagonists. It’s a focus area that really I find disastrous to break.
It is curious how much one struggles with judging the number of words needed to finish: life’s little lessons, here I am on twenty something books, and I still don’t get it right. The answer is when you think you’re hitting the last scene: take the number you thought of as how much you will take to finish, and multiply it by two and add 10%.
If only I remembered that a few days back when I thought I’d be done by now, enjoying writing a leisurely MGC post. Ah well. I’m not, so I am going to leave you with a quite relevant point out of BATH TANGLE (which is my current ‘escape book’. I hope it isn’t coloring my writing too much).
On meeting a famous authoress, and being too embarrassed to set herself forward, and wishing she had:
‘For Evalina, you know, was quite my favorite book, and I am sure I was persuaded I could never love any gentleman one tenth as much as I loved Lord Orville.’
“What a pity you did not tell her so! I daresay she would have been very much pleased,’ Serena said.
‘Yes but I thought she might have wished me rather to have spoken about her last book,’ said Fanny naively. ‘Do you recall that author who dined with us once, and was affronted because your dear papa praised his first book, and never said a word about the others.’
Many a true word spoken in in text. I’ve never met an author who didn’t like you saying something nice about their book. (Nothing is however worse than damning with faint praise ‘Oh it was quite good.’ That sets teeth on edge, I promise you. Especially if they then gush about something you wouldn’t wipe your butt on. If you’re trying to tactful or kind, either say nothing, or say you enjoyed it.)
As an author learn to accept that some people will love some of your work, and not all of it. Be grateful they loved some of it.
Learn that you’re probably as buyable as the pleasure they got from your LAST book, not your first. And that depends not just on how well the book started, or worked in the midway, but in particular, the piece you leave, last in their memory: the end
Now, forgive me, but I need to work on the end.