Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Way We Are: The Hardest Part of Your Novel

Okay, so I've heard writers talk about what's hardest for them when writing a book. For some, it's the sagging middle. For others, it's the weighty beginning. For others, it's the has-to-be-fabulous ending.

They're all their own special kind of hard, it's true. The more I got thinking about which part is hardest for me, the more I got wondering what is the hardest part for everyone else. So how about you? Let's have it!

 
For me, it's beginnings. Not far behind that is endings. The middle for me is cake! I plot a lot, and do a lot of figuring things out ahead of time, so when I sit down to start and everything wants to pour, it's so overwhelming figuring out how to make it trickle.

What about your hardest part is hardest for you?

34 comments:

Iain said...

There isn't a part for none of the above.
My problem isn't with the plot, it's the emotional journey of my characters. Weaving it into the plot so that you empthise with the character, rather than just follow them is my issue.

elizabeth seckman said...

Looks like very few are stuck in the middle. I too find the greatest challenge on where exactly to begin the story.

JeffO said...

I voted 'The End' because, for the two novels I've completed so far, that's where I had the most difficulty. However, I wouldn't be surprised to find it varies from project to project for a lot of people.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

For me it's usually the middle. I find I tend to meander in there, kind of like one of those giant mazes, and I can't seem to find my way out. :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

It's the middle for me, too. I seem to be in such a rush to get to the end that I forget the journey the characters have to take to get there. I'm getting better though.

Joshua said...

I'm going to vote for the ending, only because I've been stuck with about 10K left in my current WIP for months. Just can't get past the build-up to the climax.

Nick Wilford said...

I just posted about endings being difficult, but I'm actually going to vote for the middle on here. Just because it takes the longest and it can be hard to find which direction to take (or which to focus on most). You're not working to get things established and you're not trying to wrap it all together. I guess I need to have focus!

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I'm in the trenches right now, trying to make it through the middle alive. In my head, it feels like World War III.

Kim said...

I initially voted that "the middle" was the hardest part for me. Putting all of the elements in their proper sequences was difficult for me until you introduced me to Blake Snyder's beat sheet. Thank you so much for that! (Looks like I've turned into a fiction writer after all.)

prerna pickett said...

the middle. I have the beginning and ending planned, but the meat of the story is difficult to fill in.

Carrie-Anne said...

Emotionally, the ending is usually the hardest part, even though I write family sagas and interlocking series books instead of standalones. The ending is particularly hard when it's one of my doorstoppers, since I've spent so much time on the journey with these people and have to close things up, at least for this installment. And after the end, I need some time to wind down before I can get back to writing about them.

Delia said...

Beginnings are where the idea is fresh and new and fun. Endings are where I get excited because I'm almost done. So, the middle. Not because I think it's particularly difficult, but because it's where I begin to get discouraged and wonder if I'm wasting my time. It's also where other ideas begin whispering sweet nothings in my ear. It's the part I have to power through and not let myself give up or set it aside. That makes it the hardest.

Donna K. Weaver said...

So far the middle's been the hardest in the book I'm doing the R&R for. It's a tough one because of the nature of what's going on and finding the balance between the tediousness of what the characters are going through and keeping things interesting for the reader. And even that depends upon the reader! Ugh.

Isabella Amaris said...

Hmmm, interesting question. I voted beginning; I tend to visualise the middle and end of a book pretty much right off - and then have to start from scratch to get there without letting my impatience get in the way of the story sheesh:)

Jenny Morris said...

I seem to stutter to a stop at the middle. Once I can get past that part I usually breeze to the end. Although during revising the beginning and end are the parts I have to rework the most. So I guess that says something.

Laura Marcella said...

They all have their challenges and often the hardest part to write depends on the particular story. Generally the end is the hardest for me to write, though!

S.P. Bowers said...

Beginning for me too. If I think about where or how to start I freeze. Generally I leave the beginning until the end, or somewhere in the middle If I happen to get inspiration.

Clarissa Draper said...

The middles are hard for me but I find if I know where my novel is going, it is easier.

Kim said...

Middle for me, too. I usually start with a fairly clear idea of the beginning and ending, but it's getting from point a to b that's rather difficult :)

Jameson Kirtley said...

Hey, new here-- the topic really caught my eye because I'm pretty well stuck right now in the middle of my first full length novel. I started with a great ending and then crafted a good beginning to match, but then I'm stuck with the journey part in between, to get from A to B. I'm more of a discovery writer, but having an ending in mind just makes discovering the middle that much harder.

Z said...

I usually can write the ending before I write the beginning and I STRUGGLE through the middle like it's the hardest things in the universe. I know how to start and end, and I know all the point in the middle because I'm a plotter, but actually writing those portions is the most boring thing. I take forever to get through them, and then I think most of what I'm writing is a miserable fail. Blah.

Lauren said...

I don't plot at all, so the end (pulling everything together) is definitely the hardest. So I only started finishing them in the last few years.

Then the really hard part--revisions! (that wasn't on your list)

lauren-ritz.blogspot.com

Leigh Covington said...

I'm a lot like you, except it goes... endings, then beginnings. I can handle the middle. Interesting because the "middle" has the most votes for being the hardest right now. Crazy how it's different for all of us. Or maybe not that crazy :)

Nicole said...

I'm with you. Beginnings are tough! I can always get a decent one out during my first draft, but I usually don't feel like I nail it until I'm well into my editing. I think it's because I have a better feel for the story and where, exactly, it should start.

Rebecca Barrow said...

The middle is the hardest. I know where I'm starting, I know where it's going to end up, but somewhere in between there actually has to be something. Honestly, if I could just from beginning to end and cut out everything between that, I would!

Tonja said...

I don't usually start writing until I know the beginning and the end. I often want to take a straight path to the end, but that's too easy, right?

MTeacress said...

I said middle, and you're right - more plotting will take care of that issue. :)

Caryn Caldwell said...

For me, the beginning is definitely the hardest part. At that point I'm still battling my internal editor because I went from revising one book to writing another. Plus, in the beginning I'm not into the book yet. I don't yet have a feel for the characters, for their backstories, for what they will do, for how they will react to certain situations.

The middle just feels like I've got all these threads going, so I just have to play with them and see where they lead. The middle is my playground. It's fun.

The end is daunting, but I usually have a lot of momentum by then, and it feels very downhill, especially because THE END is in sight. By then I've had an entire book to think about where I'm going with it, and I've built up a tolerance to long writing sessions. (Kind of like exercise; when I first get back on that elliptical it takes me a few weeks to build up the length and intensity of my workout sessions, but if I keep going I get up there in no time.)

Then again, I'm just starting work on the end of my book now, so maybe my answer will change in a week or two!

Kitty Hietala said...

Definitely the end! It's pulling all the pieces together in such a way that make sense on the pages the way it did in my head that's the biggest challenge for me! Beginnings are right up there, too. I agree with you - the middle is cake!

Carrie Butler said...

I could write middle material all the live-long day. It's the end that kills me. ;)

Melanie Conklin said...

For me, the very first line. Lately, I just leave a bunch of XXX's to hold the first line or paragraph, keep writing like I'm running from a fire, and then go back and write the very beginning AFTER the end is done!

Bea Sempere (Denise Baer) said...

I'm so particular about a great ending, so I'd have to say the ending is the hardest for me because of the many rewrites.

Have a great day.

Christa Desir said...

I'm not a plotter, but still I don't worry so much about saggy middles (I write short). I DO worry about endings. I didn't think I did until I've had to write mine about 7 times. Now, I'm paralyzed by it.

Hannah Hounshell said...

None of the above. For me, its the editing that is the hardest part. Changing stuff that's been in place for long enough to feel permanent, but is still not quite right.

I say that, because when I'm writing, it all comes out in a rush of words and scenes that demand to be written down right then, regardless of what I'm doing. It's when I have to go back over it, tweaking and making sure it makes sense, that I run into trouble.

I hope that made sense. It's been a long day at work and my brain feels like so much grey mush right now.