Monday, 13 August 2012

Endings




I was about to go to bed and realised that I haven’t done a blog post for a little while.

I was thinking about the Olympics and the over the top closing ceremony and then I thought about endings.

I watch Supernatural with my teenage sons and one of my favourite characters is the Prophet Chuck. He writes novels that oddly mirror the lives of the Winchester boys.

He does a voice over at one stage that I ran off to look up. The quote belongs to whoever the heck writes Supernatural and I take no credit, but it really resonated with me.

Endings are hard. Any chapped-ass monkey with a keyboard can poop out a beginning, but endings are impossible. You try to tie up every loose end, but you never can. The fans are always gonna bitch. There’s always gonna be holes. And since it’s the ending, it’s all supposed to add up to something. I’m telling you, they’re a raging pain in the ass.

He is so right.

I make an awful lot of beginnings, but winding up a story; letting those characters go is sometimes spectacularly hard to do.

The last time I spoke about works in progress, I had eight things on the go.

I have been following an idea from Jerry Seinfeld of all people. People asked him how he could be so prolific and he said ‘don’t break the chain’. Every day he would challenge himself to write a certain number of words and he would make a mark on the calendar (I think) linking each day to the one before. He effectively guilted himself into writing.

[I believe you can buy ‘don’t break the chain’ calendars, too.]

I can do that, I thought. I’m good at that guilt stuff.

So I set up a spread sheet. I am not so good at that, but I can learn. I worked out how to generate a bar graph. And every day I would count how many words I had written and plug it into my spread sheet. And voila.

In the last five weeks I have written 43,823 words. Good job me.

BUT and this is a big but. I haven’t finished anything. Those words are spread over a number of projects from my earlier list.

Heavy sigh.

Endings. They’ll get you every time.