Writing fiction can be as easy as watching the movie in your mind unwind. That’s how it’s possible to write the rough draft of a 50,000 word novel during the month of November in the NaNoWriMo challenge. And that’s how it’s possible to write a resolution and know that you’ve come to “The End.”
But the process of revision is hard work, like slogging through swamp mud. It takes terrific energy to pull each foot from the slime’s sucking grasp and keep moving forward with mud-caked boots as heavy as lead weights.
Revision comes after the writer realizes any of a number of difficult truths: A scene makes little sense unless a new one is written before it to give context. The narrative’s chronology doesn’t work. The setting’s description lacks color. The symptoms of an illness are inaccurate. A character’s reaction is unrealistic. A blob of dialogue is as bland as vanilla pudding.
Sometimes it seems as if all the novel’s parts will never fall into place. But when they do, the writer thinks, “Yes! It is finished!” It may not be perfect and fitful tweaking may continue, but an author knows the difference between writing the end and reaching the finish.