I'm nearing the end of the first draft of "Outsourced," the sequel to "Leverage" and "Pursuing Other Opportunities." This is my favorite part of writing because it is when all the previously laid groundwork begins to pay off.
Thinking back to the original design documents for "Outsourced," I started with the broad strokes of where I wanted this final installment in the trilogy to go, but it was still took a lot of work to build the plot. And it took even more work to develop the unique and interesting characters to fit into the storyline. I would say I labored over the design documents for this novel more than most.
Then it was time to write the early part of the novel, starting with where the story initially grabs the reader, and proceeding to set up the story line through its series of struggles that the protagonists must endure. I don't think I'm alone in saying that those first couple of chapters are just darned tough to get down on paper.
The middle tends to be bit easier, but there is still a need to be vigilant for and fight against something I think of as "story sag" where there are too many words spent on build up -- particularly when the destination is obvious to the reader. Even though this part is easier than the beginning, it still feels like work.
The end of a novel, however, is where the story seems to take on a life of its own. The words spring from the keyboard onto the page, and the story seems to write itself. Everything I've put in place to make that happen comes together. I think of it as the final pieces of a large and complex jigsaw puzzle being fit in place. And just like when working a puzzle, I'm anxious to get to the end. But I am also conscious that this is when I can begin to celebrate victory.
Of course, there are hundreds of hours of editing yet to go, but once the novel is created, it becomes something real and tangible. It is the basic form of my literary sculpture, awaiting more detailed work with finer tools, yet already clearly demonstrating it's potential.
Well, enough of this musing! Time to get back to "Outsourced" and its exciting conclusion!