Happy Halfoween! In honor of this spooky celebration, here is one of my favorite kill scenes, from one of my all-time favorite movies, Thir13en Ghosts.
(It’s not Halfoween if someone isn’t getting bisected)
While I was drumming up ideas for my blog post, I kept thinking of the fact that we’re halfway to Halloween. It might just be me, but I feel like everything is “halfway” lately. My kid is always halfway clean. I’m halfway done the laundry (meaning it’s sitting in the washer, slowly drying). My jobs are halfway done at work. The bottle of wine is halfway finished (don’t worry, I have more).
Not only are things in my daily life constantly in a state of being halfway done, but so are my WIPs. It starts the same with every book; Inspiration strikes and I feel like a fucking genius. I write like crazy, staying up late and waking up early just to get in a few more words. And right when I get halfway done (Usually around the 30k mark), I start to peter out. I lose the drive and the excitement of starting a novel and start dawdling along the long path to finishing a novel.
I wish this was a post compiled with useful information on how to make yourself finish your book, but it’s not. Instead, this is my sneaky way to get advice from YOU. So far, I can only write if I set up awesome treats for myself. While that works some of the time, I find myself just going for the treats (new books or chocolate, mostly). What do you do to motivate yourself to finish a book? Me and my folder full of halfway-finished MSs would like to know.
To make things a little more fun – it is Friday, after all – I’m going to post a section of one of my halfway stories below. I’d love if you did the same in the comments. But be warned….I will stalk/bother/annoy you until you finish it.
So, submitted for the approval for the Midnight Society, I call this story EAT OF MY BODY.
(MC Ember is in a kitchen, getting ready to cook for a dinner party with her mentor, Chef Anthony.)
“Anthony, I’m so pleased you were able to make it.” A deep, smooth voice booms from a doorway I never noticed.
Chef’s grip tightens on his own set of blades. “I never had much of a choice.”
The owner of the velvet voice steps into the fluorescents. He’s Italian, like Marco and Anthony, but he’s in his fifties at least. Silver threads his black hair and he’s wearing a black suit that looks like it costs more than the fancy sports car we took to get here. He walks toward me, not bothering to hide the fact that he’s thoroughly checking me out. “You must be Ember. My name is Dante, and this is my home.”
“You live here?” I ask. “In the middle of the woods?”
He nods and drags his fingertips along the island. “I think you’ll find the rest of the Warehouse a little warmer than the steel prison your Chef loves so much.”
“Dante, can you give us a minute? I haven’t had the chance to ask Ember to fill out the paperwork.” Anthony casually unrolls his knife set.
“Ah yes, the paperwork. She can do it now. I have a pen.” Dante reaches into his suit and pulls out a black metal pen. He slides it toward me.
“Ember, I need you to sign a nondisclosure agreement.” Chef pulls out a single piece of linen paper from the suitcase and puts it on the island. “I’m afraid you need to sign before we can tell you about our plans for today.”
“Uh, okay?” I take the pen and paper. I skim over it but none of it makes sense. “Let me guess – there is no fight club?”
Neither of the men laugh.
I scrawl my name and push the paper toward Dante.
He glances at it before folding it up and sliding it into his suit jacket. “Perfect. They’re all yours, Anthony.”
I look around the room but it’s just Dante, Anthony, and I. Dante tips his head at me before he leaves the kitchen, whistling the opening bars to some famous opera as he goes.
“Well that was fucking weird,” I say once Dante is gone.
“Ember, I need to show you something.” Chef comes around the island and takes my elbow. He leads me toward a walk-in cooler that I only imagine is brimming with incredible ingredients. He pauses with his hand on the cooler door. “Can I ask you to do something for me?”
“Please don’t scream.”
I snort. “I’ve seen hanging pigs before. It’s okay.”
Chef pushes the cooler door open and we step inside. I was right about the ingredients. All the produce I could dream of lines the shelves of the cooler. I have to stop myself from reaching out and running my hands along the rainbow of vegetables to my right.
We walk further into the cooler, the light fading the further back we go. I squint at a table that’s pushed up against the back wall.
“Is that what we’re cooking tonight?” I look up at Chef.
We take a few steps closer and suddenly I understand why Chef asked me not to scream.
Lying on the table, is a naked, breathing woman.
That’s it for me. Now show me your words below or I may actually have to finish this thing.
I love this!! Also, that lawyer scene is the best scene in that entire movie.
Sweet lard. I didn’t know we could swear in here.
Uhm. WHY ARE THEY GOING TO EAT A WOMAN? And WHY HAVE I NEVER HEARD OF The 13teeth13 Ghosts or whatever? Waaaaant.
And to answer your question: I thought I was going crazy stopping and starting all the time. What helped me was “zooming out”. Turns out the multiple project I was trying to flesh out each into their own full books were meant to be chapters in one book. So, twist my arm and snap it off here are words from a halfway-done chapter outline :
Chapter 11: KELSEY’S KIDDING KRAKEN
Class-clown KELSEY is frustrated that she hasn’t made anyone laugh yet and skips stones across the lake and wakes the kraken-in-residence.
It’s not happy.
Kelsey cracks a joke to ease the tension. The Kraken warms to her.
They end up having a lovely chat and she scratches his tentacles and teaches the Kraken a few good mermaid jokes.
Feeling better, she says, “So, this was fun, but I’ve got to go, now.”
And the Kraken extends a tentacle to shake hands and says, “Yes that’s fine! You can leave any time. Do stop by the gift shop on your way out!”
Kelsey laughs and tugs her hand away.
But the Kraken doesn’t let go. Finally, it laughs and says, “You can leave any time”.
And Kelsey releases her breath, like: “Whew!”
And the Kraken’s like: “Just kidding.”
I love Thir13een Ghosts! I haven’t seen it in a while, must be time to watch it again.
I don’t have half finished stories…I think because the end is my favorite part. I love the creepy twist I have planned, or the strangeness that happens without my planning. I can’t wait to get to the finish line, because usually I know what it looks like and it must be told. That’s why I type those final words, that’s why I push through the middle. The end is where the story unfolds and reveals its secrets.
And maybe your story is finished. Maybe that’s the end. Works for me.