“Finish What You Started, Human.”

a Florida childhood

“Finish what you started, human” is a quote from the film Spirited Away. I’ve used it as my title of this year’s NaNoWriMo project. It is not the title of the story I’m working on. It’s an order from my future self.

The order speaks for itself.

Neil Gaiman tells writers to finish things and he’s hardly the only one. Julie Duffy, founder and instigator of Story-a-Day May, reminds her fellow short story writers of this often.

And I have finished stories. More accurately, I’ve finished them until a fresh pair of eyes tell me different. But several more need help. So, this year’s NaNoWriMo was about finishing and endings. The next few months are the same.

The first thing I worked on was the story I serialized, The Fairy Tale Asylum. I added to manuscript and created an outline (a Marta-style outline anyway) to go back to. Then I went through what manuscripts I really want to finish. There were five with no endings. So I wrote five endings. Now when I go back to each one, I know where the plot is going! I’m actually excited about this. Having endings to aim for makes each story feel more manageable.

The next step was to choose one of the five to focus on for the rest of NaNo. I chose The Princess Detective simply because it had the most gaps and would work best for NaNo and I have written a murder mystery since 8th grade (in which a plucky student solves the murder of the algebra teacher). In this story, the princess must find the killer of the prince. It’s fun to write and a challenge. Can I write it so that the reader doesn’t guess the guilty party by the end of chapter 3? Can the reveal be surprising and still make sense? No idea. Let’s hope.

(This is the point in the post in which I want to explain why I haven’t posted here lately, but I don’t think it matters. Suffice to say, the news is exhausting…which is not news to anyone.)

This is why I love writing challenges. I get out of my own way and get things done. And I admit, I’ve been contemplating mortality a great deal these days (more than usual), and while I’ll never finish everything I want to finish, I can at least make the effort.

And then what? I’ll try to put them out into the world. Whatever that means these days. More to say about that later.

The main idea is that each story now has an ending and I feel better.

*

Thanks for reading. I’m thankful for every reader out there.

Be safe. Be well.

And Happy Thanksgiving.


Also, of course, the holiday pitch. I have things for sale in various spaces:

Art, handmade blank books, and paper ornaments on Etsy

Art on mugs and bags and lots of gift items on RedBubble.

My novel on Amazon

4 thoughts on ““Finish What You Started, Human.”

  1. I’m so happy that you are a human who seems routinely to finish what she starts. And of course it doesn’t hurt at all that the finished products are worth waiting for!

    Eighth-grade murder mystery: “a plucky student solves the murder of the algebra teacher.” Obviously I don’t know the story, but can easily imagine there were one or more eighth-grade algebra students involved as perpetrators. Ha.

    Just picked up a book of 300+ challenges for photographers. It’s a bit overwhelming but I refuse to give into the “There’s nothing to take pictures of!” despair.

    As you know, though, my determination is a bit more wobbly when it comes to my writing. One mountain at a time!

    1. For every thing I finish, there must be five I don’t! And yes, perhaps students were involved in all aspects of that 8th-grade murder mystery…

      That photograph challenge book sounds brilliant. Glad you’re doing that! Photography is a wonderful medium, and you have a talent for it.

      And also, definitely one mountain at a time.

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