For me, the most challenging part of completing a major project (other than the multiple revisions, relentless editing, and polishing) is the final push.
The characters are where they need to be; the table has been set. This, more than any other time, is the place to screw up. There’s tension, there’s atmosphere, there’s conflict about to be resolved and… suddenly The Three Stooges enter stage left, do a little burlesque show, and leave the reader wondering WTF just happened.
That hasn’t happened with A Very Tall Summer yet, but it could. Precise images that I’ve carried around in my head for the past few months are (mostly) crystal clear (just a few smudges). Essentially, the characters are going to do what they’re going to do, what I’ve nurtured them to do. I’ll rein them in if I must, but I won’t tie them down.
And in this case, I’ve built the story around a single character, with very few supporting players. I know her very well, and I know she won’t disappoint. Her perception is central to the story. But is her perception faulty? Oddly enough, I won’t know until I finish. I think that small element of discovery is important to the writer as well as the reader.
I set a deadline to have this completed by November, and I’m going to make it, barring disaster or amnesia. But for today, I’m filling the tank for the final push. I don’t want to rush it because it’s going to be an intense write, but I don’t want to set it aside for too long.
The pieces are in position, the players are considering their options.