There are two main things that cause me to leave a draft half finished
- A more exciting idea occurs to me, and I jump onto it while I have it clear in my head
- I get stuck trying to get from the climax to the conclusion and lose interest, which almost always convinces me to set the book aside in favor of a new and exciting idea.
I think the reason I’m so prone to getting stuck is that I am, in my heart, a Plotter. I want to know where I am going and I always start out knowing where I’m going. I start with the climax, which in erotic romance is usually the first sex scene, develop it until I know who the characters are, then find a way to get them from the exposition to the sex.
Once I accomplish that, I usually hit a wall. The direction forward from the climax is obvious, you have to get from the climax to the Happily Ever After. Writing romance is easy that way- there is only one ending, you just have to figure out how the characters get there.
I’ve found that the easiest way for me to get there, is not to try to forge my way forward, hands on the keyboard, head in the sky, but to logically trace my backward.
Because I know the ending, plotting backward lets me figure out the cause and effect that take me to a satisfyingly inevitable conclusion, without needing to figure out all the details up front.
For example, let’s say I was writing Romeo and Juliet, and I’d gotten them from the dance to the balcony to Friar Tuck's for the wedding, then hit a wall. I know I want the play to end with the Capulets and the Montagues setting aside the feud, but how do I get there?
The keyword is *because*
The Capulets and the Montagues decide to try and mend the feud
Juliet killed herself
Romeo was banished
He killed Tybalt in a duel.
And I would do that all the way to Romeo and Juliet consummating the wedding.
Now, my beloved bullet points give me a structure to fill in again, which lets me add in the flourishes of Mercutio’s death, poor Paris being in the wrong place at the wrong time and all the confusion with potions and poisons. Those are the things that are easier to come up with when you can already see Point B from Point A, and know Point C is just beyond it.