Revision of Ending Complete, Or, be thankful for pushers

writing
Photo by Rae Grimm (bloodylery)

After much gnashing of teeth and hair pulling and Funyun consumption, I finally strapped myself down in a chair and got some emotions out people. Lord, was that hard.

As I blogged yesterday in Struggling with Revising the End, this was hard for me. I was resistant. It was like someone was trying to force vegetables down my throat.
 
I typed in some changes here and there over the weekend and yesterday moved a whole chunk around, but then I realized what I needed to do. Print the dang thing out. Sometimes I just can’t revise on a computer. So I took the printout to the little sunroom off my library and with paper and pen scribbled away. This accomplished something else: it kept me away from compulsively checking Twitter, etc.
 
Finished and had a long talk with my mom after, who’d read Why I’m Happy My Mom Hates the Ending… and felt reaaaaalllly bad and I told her NO, I want honest feedback. I have to have someone I can trust for that! Anyway, typed in my revisions and with the thankful help of my awesome critique partner Susan at critiquecircle.com I finally got it wrangled into shape. I sent her my new revision and thankfully she said nope, still not there, keep pushing, dig deep. So back I went, etc. until she gave me a big smiley face. Whew! Oh, and I got a “good job babe!!!!!” from my mom (who, thankfully, is a Tough Cookie and not your typical ‘good job, dear’ kind of Mom). Double whew!
 
This back and forth led my critique partner Susan to message me this morning wondering if we’d ever be able to learn to push ourselves, because we’ve both been good at pushing the other. I don’t know the answer, but I honestly hope I’m never at that point. I want to be pushed. I think there’s a danger in not allowing others to push you. What do you think? Do you have a pusher?

Struggling with Revising the End

writing
Photo by Rae Grimm (bloodylery)

Earlier this week I blogged about Why I’m Happy My Mom Hates the Ending… because it means she’d been emotionally engaged enough to be totally pissed at me for flubbing the ending.

Now I know why I flubbed it. Endings are hard. Writing emotions is hard. Both together?

Looking back, I remember that I’d totally skipped even writing it on the first draft. Second draft I wrote one of the scenes but skipped the other. And then once I finally wrote all of it, when I was revising my third draft and going over each scene in the whole draft, I kept flipping past these last ones. It was like, once I’d written them I really didn’t want to revisit them.

Now that I can no longer ignore it, it’s been funny watching myself procrastinating since Thursday. And boy am I good at that. Oh, I really need to refresh my twitter feed, it’s only been 30 seconds. And yes, I really do need to identify more of my friends on Picasa. Jeez.

Friday between my bouts of Procrastination Gymnastics, I managed to insert about six lines to help show Isabelle’s mental state. And then I had a great idea about how to make the ending work and went to bed to let it stew.

Yesterday at work I’d gotten a little bag of Funyuns as a snack and it wasn’t a big bag and it left me unsatisfied. So, on the way home I bought two more little bags and a can of dark chocolate covered cashews, hoping this would be incentive enough. Even though I had a new twist to punish my heroine further, I still procrastinated. Broke out the Funyuns. Munch, munch. Still procrastinating. Finally made myself write out this emotional awakening only to get to the twist and realized that logically it wouldn’t work, argh! I still like the twist so I’ve been brainstorming how to make it work. Will make myself write it today. I’ve got one more bag of Funyuns left.

Whoever said writing Romances is easy I suspect hasn’t really tried. Writing convincing emotion is not only extremely hard, but it’s also draining. At least for me.

Anyone else struggling with their ending?

Why I’m Happy My Mom Hates the Ending…

So, my mom is not your typical your-work-is-wonderful-dear kind of reader, which I’m happy about. I made the mistake of having her read a first draft, though, of an earlier work, and boy was that rough. It was good, but rough. Rough in the sense of seeing LOL written in the margins when it’s not supposed to be funny kind of rough. That manuscript is still sitting under the bed. But it means I always know where I stand, which I totally appreciate as not everyone is that honest.

So, with this new novel I waited until I was almost done with my third draft before I let her see it. And then I held my breath. Soon, I started getting text messages and emails keeping me apprised of where she was and how much she was enjoying it, and I’m thinking, is this my mom? Especially because she’s never read a Romance novel.

The positive feedback kept coming. Tuesday, 5:07 p.m.

getting ready to start chapter 18 tonight….and have to tell you that i just ran out and bought some dark chocolate….

(The dark chocolate is something that’s part of the story so it’s not the non sequitur it seems). Yesterday at 6:30 a.m.

hey, got up to chapter 25 last night! almost finished!

Until last night. Then I got bombarded with text messages and emails letting me have it. She’s mad at me, folks!  Here’s just some of what she sent:

Don’t have your correct email here so don’t know if u will get this. Finished the book and feel cheated.

Sent from my iPod

That was the entirety of the email. And then at the tail end of a follow up one, where she discusses what she didn’t like, was this:

i don’t know but but but

And here’s a text message:

what the hell! What about Phineas? What was all that stuff about?

So, I called her on the way into work to get more details, because this is like gold to me. She’s only the second person to read it all the way through in this form. She was so worked up about what I’d done to the poor hero and what I hadn’t covered, that at one point I actually had to say, “Mom, calm down.” She laughed and stated that, yes, her blood pressure was up. She was that incensed.

My ending sucks. I was worried it did and was also worried I’d rushed it, and not delved enough into the HEA moment. The first reader gave me that feedback. And now my mom with this reaction…

So, why am I happy? Well, because she’d had such an animated and emotional reaction to it, even though it was negative. She’s an artist, and she’d always told me growing up that a negative reaction was just as good as a positive one — that at least there was a reaction. In this case, at least she hadn’t shrugged her shoulders and gone, ‘meh.’

To me, it meant that she’d gotten so wrapped up in the characters and the story that she was pissed I didn’t end it in a satisfying way. Yes, it means my ending sucks and I need to rework it. And I will need to revise some earlier chapters. There’s a lot of work still ahead of me. But to my mind, her reaction meant I’d at least done one thing right that I didn’t need to scrap and rework, and that’s the connection she felt to my hero and that I’d pulled her enough into the story world for her to feel this strongly about a poorly executed ending.

At least, that’s my story and my interpretation of this morning’s call and I’m sticking to it. :)