I wanted to have the first, rough-as-shark-hide draft of my novel done by the end of November. That didn’t happen. I didn’t allocate nearly enough time. No, time allocation wasn’t the issue: prioritization was. I allowed the novel to slip down the list until it sat below watching the Grimm box set. It’s difficult to rise back up from a position that low.

Part of the problem was that although I have a whole lot of novel, I don’t have a denouement. I’ve written the last chapter, nodded to the sequel and tied everything up. But I haven’t written the climax or the rush towards it. Mine’s a crime/urban fantasy cross over novel and, as such, follows certain conventions. There has to be action, some suspense and a big “aha” moment. Despite my planning and plotting, the resolution escapes me and without that, I can’t finish the story.

Denoument: the final outcome, result, or unravelling of the main dramatic complication in a play or other work of literature

On January 14th, I was called for jury service. In the end, I didn’t have to serve, but I spent a day at the High Court waiting to find this out. I’d been warned that there would be a lot of sitting around and to bring a book or some work. I did both. I printed out the novel as was and read it with pen in hand, marking where I need to rewrite, add information or move sections. Unexpectedly, mine was a very productive day.

The next step is to work through my notes. The first 40 pages went quickly, then gaps appeared and work slowed down as I added pages of plot. But I’m working again, and that’s great.

Have I solved the problem with the denoument? Nope. But I’m less worried about it because now that I’m working on the novel again, I remember plotlines and characters, and have new ideas. The first draft of the plot had a different baddy and that’s part of my problem: I’m unsure about baddy #2’s motivation. Reading the manuscript has clarified it somewhat and that gives me a plotting-path forward.

Writing something this long part-time takes focus. I’m learning just how much.