The End is Nigh: Summer and Story Plots

Summer is rightly praised for the many fun things one can do in warm weather when one doesn’t have work. It is also the season where one may try things that one would normally consider unadvised, a little sketchy, or downright stupid. I have experienced the truth of this just this past weekend, where I spend a wonderful weekend at a cabin on the shores of Lake Chelan with about two dozen others, playing in that bizarre sensation that has only occasionally graced western Washington this summer: hot sunshine. I swam, I boated, I inner-tubed, I narrowly avoided sunburn and ate a lot of sugar roasted over fire. However as I sit here before the computer, I can still feel the remnants of dehydration, almost-sunburn, over sugarization, and the aftermath of inner-tubing when the driver of the boat to which the inner-tube is attached really wants to knock you off or flip you over. This last remnant makes me feel like the survivor of a moderate car accident, complete with whiplash, sore biceps (I wasn’t willing to fall into the water if I could help it, and I didn’t until the flipping made it inevitable) and a jaw which feels as though I was stubbornly grinning at the jaws of death for a long time. But let’s not worry about that…

Summer is also the season where I determinedly turn my mind to my precious manuscript, eager to take the time given by lack of work and use it for the good of writing. This summer I gave a challenge to myself: finish the manuscript, or face the consequences! Well…

I can see the end. I really can. But I highly doubt that I will make it by the time I return to the workforce next Monday. I made terrific progress; this has been one of the best writing summers I’ve had. But I don’t want to dash through to the end (mostly because my the-end-is-nigh euphoria is often more of a mirage than a reliable distance marker). Story climaxes should be treated with thought and care, effort should be made to tie all those loose ends you’ve let dangle for “later,” and, since you’ve made it this far, you really should take the time to enjoy this epic part of the story. The climax is where you prove to your readers that it truly was worth hanging around for the previous X many pages, because all that build up, all those subplots and all the effort the characters have made to this point is going to be put to the test. You owe it to your readers, your characters and yourself to make it worthwhile.

So in between digging out my lunch pail and reformulating lesson plans, I will be staging out the last and greatest part of my story, taking this last week to write without that irritating work distraction. The end of my manuscript may be nigh (if the story doesn’t suddenly get deeper or the plot take a twist I’m not aware of) but the end of summer IS nigh, and as I sit here writing with inner-tube aches, I wave a fond farewell to days spend on the porch swing, laptop in hand, and gear myself for the new writing season (night writing is In, day writing is Out).

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nkeda14
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 20:55:01

    Do you teach? If you do what subject? I’m actually thinking very seriously about becoming a high school teacher, as the summers would be great for writing, and you get pretty many days off.

    Plus, I think it would be fun to teach a creative writing class 🙂

    Glad you had a fun summer…. wish mine was still going on. This was my first week back…. UGH! Hello high school (again) haha.

    Reply

  2. Andy
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 22:20:16

    are you working on book 2 or 3?

    Reply

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