Journal#5: The Thing About Endings…

It’s been a helluvafewweeks. All go, and no stop. Writing, writing at the day job, attending the Northern Poetry Symposium, editing an anthology, blogging… All at the same time as managing the rest of life and bit of a sick cat.

This task mash-up normally results in my not being able to really concentrate on anything, and the sensation of my heart flit-flit-flitting in my head, rather than my chest. Does anyone else feel this way? From the outside it sounds like panic, but I don’t know if it’s actually just adrenaline. It means I’m alive – though sometimes I do wonder if feeling so alive on a long-term basis might actually do me some damage.


I’ve been keeping going with my novel plan – 1000 words a day. Sometimes I’ve done a little more, sometimes a little less, but it’s worked out pretty much there. I’m on the cusp of 36,000 words now, and since I’ve planned it as quite a shorty this means I’m in the final leg.

Endings are hard. I love writing beginnings, I love the beginnings of films, of plays. I love learning about a world and seeing the people in it for the first time. I love the mystery, the wonder. I love first impressions. But endings… Those are far more difficult. When I was younger and I used to write little stories here and there I most often used to kill the main character, as it seemed the only thing to do. So many dead protagonists… Died for nothing.

The truth is, I find it hard to imagine anything being ties up in life, so how can I emulate that in a novel? Every action we take starts a string of consequence, and sometimes they can come back to meet us again later. We go through awful things and great things, and both stick with us, so how can anything truly be resolved? This might reflect my own inability to leave things behind than anything else! And I know you don’t need everything to end at the end of a novel, but you do have to learn something that’ll change the way you live afterwards. I’ve tried to remember my favourite endings to novels and they tend to be novels that close quietly, with a thought, rather than an explosion or definite END. I don’t have such a problem ending poems, but I think this is because I see those as a snapshot. Even the poems with a  narrative tend to end on an important feature, rather than massive change. Maybe there’s something to learn from that?

Anyway, all going well, I should finish the first draft by the end of May. I’ll print it and rest the whole thing in a super-secret-cupboard during June, and then resurrect it in July, and start the long and (at the moment obscure) editing process. I imagine the editing process is going to take a LOT longer than the drafting processing. I’m not giving myself a tight deadline for this – and I’m just aiming to have it completed by the end of the year. This will mean I can work on all the other projects zipping about above my head – the full poetry collection, the book of short stories, the graphic novel, the children’s book… Not to mention the requests I’ve had for extra poems and bits and bobs for journals, and the Ghost Anthology I’m guest editing for Three Drops Press. Eeek. I’m sort of forgot about all that.

Oh well. Wish me luck!

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