I’ve nearly finished The Door that Led to Where, my next Young Adult novel for Hot Key Books. I reckon I’m six chapters from the end but I’ve been thinking that for the last two months. I’m a hill walker who’s always surprised to find that there’s another mountain to climb before I reach my destination.
You have to make sure that all the ends pull together, even those that the reader doesn’t necessarily see. You have to know the back story even if you don’t write it.
There is a cast of many and each of my characters must have a life and possess some substance. This stage of writing a book is the hardest because if the characters and plot aren’t tied up properly, the whole thing can collapse leaving a tailof meaningless words and a story that doesn’t hold together. I used to work with a wonderful editor called Judith Elliot who had the knack of asking the one question that would unravel the entire plot.
I think it was Hemingway who used to read everything he had written before starting again the next day. I don’t know if that meant the whole book, but if I did that I would hardly get any writing done at all. It’s only when I get near the end of the book, that I go back to the beginning.That’s where I usually find the answer to the question.