Writing ELLENSBURG has been a new experience. Not only is it a new genre (crime/suspense) for me, but it also tested how I write.
Among my fellow NIWA-ians (Northwest Independent Writers Assn) I am known as a "pantster," someone who writes by the seat of their pants, who doesn't use an outline. But I have an added problem, if I figure out the ending before I reach it, I can no longer write the story. I get a serious case of writer's block.
However, with ELLENSBURG, it was different. About five chapters into the story I made a rough outline for twenty chapters (and by that I mean, I wrote a one line chapter title) but I stopped before I reached the end. I saved that outline on my computer and then promptly lost it...somehow it disappeared. So, instead of "thinking" that far ahead I kept the outline closer, only two chapters ahead. This seemed to work well and keep me moving along.
Then the unthinkable happened, about two weeks ago while trying to sleep, I figured out the ending! I panicked. Now I wouldn't be able to finish the story and I already have the cover design! Not to mention, I have been posting my progress for months. I had to forget it but I couldn't. I tried to not think about it but that didn't work either. Finally I forced myself to focus on my two chapter outline. After each chapter, I would add another to the outline, keeping it just two steps ahead. It seemed to do the trick. There were several moments while I was writing a chapter that I would "borrow" things from the next chapter, jumping the story too far ahead too quickly and forcing me to back up and do a rewrite.
Finally last week the story was getting close to the end. I stopped the outlining, not wanting to commit the final chapters to "paper". Then yesterday, I sat down and wrote and rewrote but finally reached the end. But it's not over.
Now the real fun begins, reading what I wrote and checking to see what was in my head actually made it to the "paper".
My goal is to have the editing finished and the manuscript sent to the publisher by October 1st with a projected release date of October 21st.
I will keep you posted.