By Mark Alpert
There comes a time in every writer’s life when you just have to finish the book. That means you can’t have lunch with your friends. You have to tell your kids to grow up a little and make their own darn snacks. And you have to apologize to your significant other and promise you’ll be a better person as soon as you finish the book.
And wouldn’t you know it, I’m going through that perilous stage right now, which explains why this blog post will be a relatively short one. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve become very good at saying no. No, I can’t go to the movie theater and see Selma, even though I want to very badly. No, I can’t respond to all those Facebook messages. No, I can’t get a haircut now! I have to finish the book!
I’m glad, though, that I took a quick break on Wednesday to read Joe’s post about The Basics of Endings. As he mentioned, it’s crucial to bring all the elements of the story together at the end of the novel. One thing I’d like to add: it’s often satisfying to speed up the narration at the climax. In my books, everything gets faster and shorter at the end — the sentences, the paragraphs, the chapters. I bounce around more frequently between the point-of-view characters as the bullets fly and the bombs explode. This narrative acceleration sometimes makes me jittery. I have to finish, I have to finish!
Here’s an analogy: have you ever tried walking across a tightrope or a balance beam? And you were doing great until you were just a few feet from the end, but then you started to lose your balance? And you realized that the only way to make it across was to forget all about balancing and just run like hell? That’s the way I feel right now.
Okay, I’m done. No more interruptions. You know what I have to do