Discover more from The Next Novel
The end will reveal itself
Focusing on the ways that each chapter builds on the others, keeping faith that the perfect ending will make itself known
I’ve been taking lots of walks, soaking up end of summer in Brooklyn.
My kid’s last day of camp was Friday, and now we have the customary two-week pre-school-year childcare scramble, but it’s much easier now that he’s a little older. I’m taking him to Illinois this week to see family. 🌻
This week in writing
Last week I read the pond novel all the way through and made a bunch of notes. This week, those notes became my to-do list and I checked off all the easy ones — fixing inconsistencies, moving scenes around, filling out chapters that felt a little thin. Anna also went through the manuscript last Sunday and gave notes on what I’ve added over the last month or so, so I’ve been responding to those. The manuscript is over 55k words now and we still haven’t figured out how the story ends… but I have faith! The end will reveal itself if I just keep leaning into the characters and their motivations.
One conviction that crystallized for me as I was reading the 26ish chapters that we have so far… if we’re going to have three different main characters with alternating chapters, then each new chapter needs to build not just on that character’s story but on the other characters’ stories as well. The things that happen in a Wallace chapter need to add to or contextualize or complicate what’s going on in the Ray chapters or the Noah chapters, and vice versa.
I’m sure that not all books with multiple POV characters do this, but it feels like the right guiding principle for this book. I’m also trying to get each chapter to end in a way that makes the reader go, “Well I can’t put the book down NOW!” It is very much not there yet, but that’s my other guiding principle.
This week in reading
I’m almost finished with Leave the World Behind and next up on my list is Hernan Diaz’s Trust. I’ve heard so many good things about this book!