Halloween is my deadline. A self-imposed deadline, but a deadline nonetheless.

I am determined to finish the first draft of my current novel by that date, right in time for NaNoWriMo. And I’m so, so, so close I can almost taste the satisfaction of writing “The End”.

I admit that part of the reason why I chose this deadline is exactly because of NaNoWriMo. November 1 is the start of a new 50 K challenge and I want to move on to another project for that.

Yet, on the other hand, after so many months of working and thinking about this same story, it is getting to the point where I don’t know if I’m not as happy with how this novel is turning out because it really needs much improvement, or simple because I’m tired of it.

At the end of the day, in the dark when I’m alone with my thoughts, I have to say that it is probably both. As this is a first draft, it certainly will have a lot that can be made better, but at the same time, the struggles I have had with the novel and my own Renaissance soul scattered brain have reached the point where I need a break.

There is also the fact that without deadlines, most times my projects would be in danger of becoming forever hopeful wannabes… and because I’m collaborating with a research project with my writing, I’m taking advantage to force a real deadline. So here it is: October 31.

The deadline is in a little over two weeks and I’m down to the final two chapters. Almost there!

One chapter per week and I’ll have finished the first draft!

The problem is that I started this novel way before the Story Genius book came out and, until yesterday, I found myself in the same spot I was last December with my actual first novel draft –this is my second, actually my third, novel that I have drafted. Here I was, almost at the end, but with no actual ending for the novel.

Oh, I had a general idea for how I wanted the novel to end, but I had absolutely no idea of the details of how it was going to happen.

It is so easy to start your novel and be excited about your characters and putting them through hoops, but as you keep coming closer to the end, the tendrils of panic start setting in. You start comparing the way your novel is headed with all the Hollywood endings that you have seen and read, and you look at your own work and you can’t help but find it so very lacking.

With the first novel I tried writing –which I definitely intend to finish, only it won’t be the first one I’ll publish–, I got to the same situation, and instead of actually finishing the story, I started editing it to get it to where I wanted it to go. And once again, as the editing of the second draft neared the end, panic would set in, and there I realized I had to write whole the novel again. Now that I think about it, maybe it was the panic that didn’t let me finish –though I really think that first try needs so much improvement.

Anyhow, I’m not letting it happen with this one. This one gets finished.

And after some weeks of racking my brain to find a way to actually have a decent ending, I believe that yesterday I got a breakthrough. Now I have a good idea of how it will happen, and I have two weeks to put those ideas into words.

Is it the greatest ending in the world? I don’t know, I guess I’ll find out once I get the draft to my beta readers.

But it’s an ending, so in a way it is also a beginning. That’s what second, and third, and –why not? – even forth drafts are for: to improve.

And as a friend told me, it doesn’t have to be a Hollywood ending. It just needs an ending.