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Point of View: Reaching the Ending

Writer's Brain - Scott

I have writer’s brain.

I have just gone full-tilt for about a month to write a new novella for a forthcoming anthology. The story is titled “The Great North”, and it’s a post-apocalyptic tale based on a Welsh legend.

Some of you may remember how it started out from one of my earlier columns – the story really wanted to be “The Autumn Lands” all over again, complete with blond stranger arriving in town on a wagon train. But the story and I had a big fight, and I won, and I steered it bodily onto a new course.

Note to my fellow writers: don’t bring a pen to a word processor fight.

I finished the story late last night, all 29,900 words of it. I was shooting for 30k, so all in all I am reasonably pleased.

But back to my writer’s brain.

After I closed the story and put away the computer, I tossed and turned for four and a half hours. You’d think it would have been over something significant, maybe a major plot flaw I’d discovered, or some additional symbolism I wanted to add in second draft. Or at the very least, least a new insight about one of the characters.

But no. This is writer’s brain, remember? And we writers are a rare breed. And so I spent four and a half hours tossing and turning, trying to figure out which words I could cut, add, or move around to make my story a perfect circle.


At some point in my midnight ruminations, I realized the whole thing was fruitless. As it always does in my late night writer romps, it occurred to me that this was all in my head, and that my “edits” were not actually going anywhere.

And then I finally got to sleep.

Now I’m awake again, and it’s time to tackle the second draft. Is the story any good? I have absolutely no idea. I am too close to it. Ideally I would set it aside and come back to it in a month or so with fresh eyes. But I don’t have the luxury of time on this one.

Damned good thing my writer’s brain is good at edits.

What’s it like for y’all when you finish a story? Does your writer’s brain torture you too?

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