So which part is hardest?

Posted: 6th August 2009 by onyxhawke in Uncategorized
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Which part of writing the book do you as a writer dislike most? I’ve heard some writers say they can’t stand the middle of the book for all it’s complexities and the balancing that needs to be done. I’ve heard others lament the early going as they try and set the avalanche in motion. Still others bemoan getting the ending right and liken it to trying to tie a bow on a charging bulls tail one handed.

I don’t write novels or any fiction other than my income tax returns, but I’ve always found the ending my own personal nightmare when writing academically and that part between the very beginning and the actual middle portion of creative writing the most onerous.

  • i always write the ending first, or pretty early on, and then i always have something to aim for, which helps the middle enormously. There's no set part, for me, but there's always a "hump" which I need to get over, and it depends on the book which part that is. With Standish it was chapter 12, Transgressions it was the middle – and the WIP I'm doing now, it's 2 chapters towards the already written end.

  • The beginning is the easiest part, but in the end needs the most editing because no matter how detailed the outline, I never really know for sure where I'm going to end up. The ending is the hardest part, but it needs the least amount of editing, because by the time I get there, I know where I've been.

  • Transitions. Don't ask me why. But that's almost always where I get stuck, when I'm transitioning either through time or from character to character.

  • I take forever to get the ending to stick.

  • I'm never quite happy with the endings, especially first time through before the rewrite, but it's the middle where I learn to hate and despise the book. Actually, that also works for short stories as well. I make faces at it, call it names, and hack and slog my way through. Often I feel like I'm wielding a machete.

  • I dislike beginnings as I'm usually trying to put together groups, explain training, etc, etc.
    I also dislike from about 60% done to 90% done – the last 10% is set in my head already, but I hit a stumbling block trying to get from the middle to the conclusion.
    Right now, I'm fighting my way through introducing the three POV characters, explaining the new team, showing the training of the new team and building towards 2/3 POV characters being in the same place and doing the same thing.

  • I hate the interruptions when juggling multiple cats that all have their claws out. I used to be able to sink back into a story with just a bit of review. Not any more. I seem to need total immersion and that happens rarely lately.

  • Hate first draft slogs through parts that need to be done and made interesting in order to get to what the muse is whispering about. Wherever they fall.
    Hate having to cut text, mostly. Editing is easier that writing, though.

  • The beginning. It's like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead. It's either really terrific from the getgo (rarely) or it's absolutely horrid, and when it's horrid, I can rewrite it a dozen times after I finish the draft before it actually works.

  • The part where I put the book down and think that I'm never going to finish it. And then when I pick it up again and edit it.
    I either get into it all over again or I start realizing that I have to completely change everything if I'm going to stay interested in it.
    I guess the part where I don't like the book but I am just interested enough to keep going.
    Or the part where I reread it after I complete it and wince. Ok, that's teh worst part. Book is finished. I think I can shop it around and then I look it over and hate most of it. But not all of it.
    But I still have those first two books that I THINK I could one day revise and rewrite into decent shape. I shouldn't think that but I do.

  • Also, I never purposefully set out to write a novel at the outset. So there's that point in the short story where I am going and I think "Hey, this could become a novel".
    That's the awesome part.
    However, when I get to the 30K mark and don't know where I'm going with it – that part still sucks.

  • The part where I realize I'm going to have to develop an entirely new body of knowledge or specialized writing ability in order to get the story to work. I'm really glad I learned how to write a good sea battle, but man, learning how to do it took forever. I have a much-beloved project that's currently stalled out while I learn how to write cavalry warfare.
    Because there are always other projects to pick up, or pick back up, sometimes that learning process gets slowed way, way down. Just when I thought I was getting somewhere with cavalry warfare for the shorter of my fantasy epics, the contemporary fantasy series with a humorous twist found a publisher, and my copiously marked-up copy of Clausewitz's On War has been lying unopened for almost two years while I write about Wiccans on the Jersey Shore.
    It's a good problem to have, but it's still a problem.

  • Proofing. I am crap at it, so mega anxiety and creeping sense of futility.

  • Gee only one? Huh. 5-30K (how the hell to I convey so MUCH without an infodump?). Around half (why am I doing this? it sucks.) and two days after (one day after = wunderkind, you beauty past compare, every word a jewel…, next day… I HATE this, it stinks on ice, and now it must be edited.

  • The first read through, after a break so I can come at it with fresh eyes.
    For me, it's an emotional roller-coaster where I rejoice in the good stuff, but all too often find myself wondering what the heck I thought I was playing at in between.
    I know I'll fix what needs fixing, but somewhere between typing that last sentence, and picking the novel up a month later, I'd convinced myself I wouldn't have to 🙂