Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Writer Rehab Series: Writers Who Don't Write 'The End'

 Which is more difficult, getting a request from an agent or editor or fulfilling that request?

In my humble opinion fulfilling that request-FAILURE TO 'THE END'-seems to be one of the most common writer diseases, paralleling the dreaded Goldilocks Syndrome.

Raise your hand if you have ever had a request and not followed through.  Aha! I rest my case.

Let's chat about why FAILURE TO 'THE END' occurs.

There are plenty of seemingly valid reasons why writers stop writing before they hit the end. Which of these can you identify with?

1. Life gets in the way-this includes, death, illness, finances, time & energy and Mother Nature.

2. Fear-Suddenly it occurs to you that you might not be a writer. You might be a fraud who really can't write the book.

3. Fear of Success-You don't want things to change, because your life is insane enough as it is. How will you add a publisher deadline and author publicity to the mix?

4. Writer A.D.D.-Distraction by a shiny new brilliant idea.

5.  Falling out of Love-Contests have yielded confusing responses and suddenly you're looking at your story without much love.

6. Chasing the Market-The hot new genre isn't what you're writing.

7. Story Implosion-You're 45K into your WIP (work in progress) and the plot begins to unravel or you begin to suspect that you have no plot.


The reality is that all of the above can seem like or may actually be valid reasons to leave your manuscript behind. And if you think I am going to attempt to tell you why your rationale is skewed, you would be wrong.

No one can make you finish the book. 

I will, however tell you why you should write to the end.

Five Simple Reasons:

1. Choices- Every time you write the end, you the writer increase your choices. Your options. One completed manuscript, two, three or more, allows you to decide your future. Traditional publishing, self-publishing...the choice is yours. The more manuscripts you have, the more choices you have when determining your publishing strategy. More manuscripts really plays a significant role in increasing your visibility as a self-published author. (By the way, I recommend you RWA members obtain Courtney Milan's workshop for Slow Writers when the conference audios become available.)

 2. Mathematics- Whether you are traditionally publishing or self publishing you're going to rely on your high school algebra to figure out your writing and revising pace.

When you get that traditional contract and the editor asks how much time you need to do revisions or what the timing needs to be on the release of your books in that multi book contract you need to do the math. 90K divided by 3 months = WHAT? 

In determining how you will release 3 self published novels in 12 months, you must also do the math.

Writing THE END and tracking your writing pace determines your writing future. If you have a bad case of Failure to 'The End,' this is going to be problematic.

3. Opportunity- This is where you pull out your very favorite quote on opportunity. Every single time you write THE END and tuck away a manuscript you have prepared yourself for a future opportunity. When the market turns or an editor makes a call out for manuscript or a contest like Killer Voices comes along, you will have inventory that will allow you to take partake in that opportunity.

 Success is where opportunity and preparation meet. -Bobby Unser

4. Leverage- by definition: : influence or power used to achieve a desired result.  A proven track record for completion of manuscripts increases your leverage. Additionally, when an agent or editor asks what else you have, you are ready to discuss all those manuscripts that have THE END on them.

5. Endorphins- Completing a project releases endorphins. The case could be made that finishing a book releases so many endorphins that it is better than...well, you get my point. 

So don't quit. Resist the urge to stop writing, until you reach the sweetest words known to any writer, THE END.

So what are your thoughts? Be brave, and leave a comment today for an opportunity to win an advanced copy of my September release, Stranded with the Rancher, and to another commenter a one chapter critique.

A recovering Failure to 'The End' -aholic, Tina Radcliffe lives in Arizona where she  battles shiny new project distraction. She is a 2012 and 2014 ACFW Carol Award finalist who writes for the wonderful editors at Harlequin Love Inspired.You can also find her at My Critique Partner.

BTW if you have not read my 2014 Carol Award finaling book, Mending the Doctor's Heart, Anna Weaver Hurtt is holding a drawing through July 31st, for a copy. Check it out here.



  1. Tina, thanks I needed that encouragement. In addition to continuing the wIp I started in March which is now up to 45,000 words, I have begun to work again on a children's book I started 15 years ago and last wrote on it in 2003. I became discouraged and quit. Now both are beckoning me to finish.

    I hope you are doing well and rested from your busy week last week.

  2. Tina, I can ALMOST imagine I'm sitting across the table from you! My excuse would be that life gets in the way of my good intentions. The only thing I seem to be able to finish is reading a book!

  3. Hello, evening ladies! I am well, although not caught up with brains cells yet.

    Hoping that will happen soon1

  4. Hi Tina!

    I've heard people use pitch opportunities to test and see if their ideas are good ones ( for self publishing), but I find that hard to believe. I think the reasons you list are more realistic. Your post has good advice. Having two series has increased my choices and that does give flexibility.

    Going to fulfill those requests now....:)

    So good to meet you in person!

  5. Thank you for the great encouraging post Tina. Unfortunately I need a lot of encouragement these days. Time is moving way to fast and I can't find the brake pedal to slow myself down. But it is just a season and I'm coming out of it slowly.

    I love the cover on your new book!
    Can't wait to read it!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  6. Great post!!

    When I was in college, one of the smartest guys in my graduating class was going to drop out a semester before graduation. My favorite professor looked him in the eyes and said, "You can do what you want, but it's psychologically healthy to finish what you start."

    I don't know why that was so powerful, but the guy changed his mind, and I've never forgotten that moment!

    There was a time this past November when I really, really, really didn't think I was going to be able to finish what I'd started. But with some good friends giving me nightly pep talks (read: verbal abuse) I got it done.

    And that feels pretty darn excellent!

  7. I could not agree with you more!!!!!

    You touched on my all-time faves, FINISH THE BOOK, EINSTEIN!!!!! :)

    AND: Math

    Our creative minds tend to forget that writing is a numbers game. How many books, how many words/day/week/month, how much time, how many books sold to earn out an advance, how many fish in a very small pond??????

    The simplicity of publishing is that it is governed by numbers, and while some folks find that unnerving, my brain clicked right into that the weekend following my glee when Melissa Endlich called me to extend an offer for Winter's End.

    If I sold X number of books which each sold X number of books, I could go to full-time writing in X number of years...

    Math works, it's not your champion, it's your guide and I like seeing the BIG PICTURE lit from within with the occasional surprise!!!! Tina, this is a perfect post.

    A marvelous post!!!!! Thank you for saying it nicer than I do when I boss people around!!!! You Rock!!!!

  8. Virginia yes.

    I can see that statement as a pivotal spot in someone's life... that first step toward getting it done!

    And you had so much on your plate last fall (and fall is the toughest time for a writer in my book once November and holidays and family commitments and oh, did I mention holidays??????) but you did get through it! And you're shining!!!!!! Yay!

  9. Coffee is here!!!!! And I brought along a tray of very delicious and unhealthy peanut butter chip and chocolate chip cookies....

    Because youse are beloved!!!!!

  10. Piper, you made such an excellent point, and you're a great example.... So I'm going to use you, darling...

    You said that having two series gives you options.

    So very true. This is when the continued daily/weekly hard work begins to pay off. And I know folks who've gone into editor meetings with no intention of sending anything, they just want to size up the editor.... which is a shame because someone else might have a sincere interest in that editor!!!! But, humans are human and that's what makes a good story!

    I love that you're jumping in the water, your cover is stunning and I'm so stinkin' proud of you!!!!!

  11. Wilani, that rocks!!!!

    You hang in there, I often have two or three projects going at once because when my brain is fried on one, I can skip over to the next one and refresh.... Or paint a room, LOL! Manual labor helps me clean brain cells, too. I think better when I'm bustling.

    Keep going, I can't wait for you to say you've reached that wonderful "The End!"

  12. Once I seriously started writing, I made myself finish stories. This was before I heard the term "character arc." The first time I needed to prove to myself I could finish a story.

    In the past four years, I've finished all of my stories except one I started in the winter. It was a romantic suspense that involved a secondary character with a heroin addiction. Months into the project I became so, well almost depressed, I had to walk away from that story.

    Thanks for sharing! Have a great day everybody!

  13. Jackie, I had to do that once with a story and when I finally went back to it a couple of years later, I realized I was going too deeply into the character's head, and not into her heart....

    What a difference that made!!!! I never published that story, and probably won't, but I found it taught me how to skate that edge more cleanly!!!! Using the heart instead of the head allows for depth of emotion... and touches the readers the way we want to. I can't read stuff that's too depressing, so learning to write about strong issues, but keep characters warm and embracing was a big step forward. GOOD FOR YOU FINISHING!!!!!

    I love it when folks say that, Huge, Clutch, Key first step! It is impossible to publish what hasn't been written!!!!

  14. Hello, my name is Deb and I'm a Failure to write THE END-oholic.

    I have little blurbs and a couple of pages on several WIPS and have only written THE END on one - my Killer Voice entry and that only because of the deadline. Unfortunately, I also fried my brain in the process because I hadn't considered myself a serious writer even as I entered the contest. In fact, I never expected to get past stage two - the synopsis, let alone get the request for the full manuscript.

    It would've been much better to have been plugging away and completing stories as this post so wonderfully explains than to fry my brain and write the book in less than a month. The plus side of the experience is that I have discovered I need to take myself seriously and complete the stories lurking in the abyss of my brain (and computer folders). I do not wish to repeat the brain-fry. I DO, however wish to repeat that endorphin "high" of writing THE END. Yes, those endorphins are mighty powerful. I wouldn't have ever experienced that without the support of Seekerville.

    THANK YOU TINA, for laying out so well how I too, can be a recovering Failure to write THE END-oholic.

    Don't put my name in the draw, because last week I see I already won a claim on your upcoming book. I am uber excited about that. I love, love, LOVE your characters!

  15. Tina, how did you know this is what a lot of us need to hear? I was talking to a writer friend last night about this and I'm sending her over here pronto.

    Number 4 has been the bane of my existence. Now I've learned I can stir more than one pot at the time. I think I learned that here at Seekerville.

    Yes, I'd like a chance to win the book or critique. Mending the Doctor's Heart is the only book I have by Tina. Time to fix that.

  16. Tina, I am just a reader...and DO appreciate you great writers!
    And thanks for all you do for Seekerville.
    Would love to win your new book!

  17. As always that was very motivating :)

    Before I took seeking publication serious I wrote for a western fan fiction site. You submit your story a chapter at a time and if you took too long between chapters the 'fan's let you know it was time to get er done!

    I have unfinished projects started prior to that time in my writing journey but everything since has been/or is in the process of reaching the end.

  18. Wonderful post, as always Tina! It took me 3 years to finally finish the first manuscript and (thanks to your self-editing class) polishing it up for submitting. Now I just need a cure for over-edit-itis. I keep finding myself wanting to go back to the story and change it before submitting it to a different publisher. sigh....
    Glad you made it back to sunny AZ!

  19. Deb, I think we all start out that way! It's a practice makes perfect thing....

    And I learned to do self-imposed deadlines. Frankly, that was the best gift of my early contests as an aspiring author, I HAD TO POLISH/FINISH/SEND by the contest deadline.

    Such a huge help!!!!!

  20. Jackie Smith, SIGH....

    Stop bein' nice to her, she'll get the big head next we know....

    and then there'll be NO livin' with her.

  21. Leanne, I have the cure!!!!

    Start something else, totally out of the sinc/line/genre so your mind is stretching in a different direction...

    And enter the first one in another contest or two and see what feedback you get.

    Whatever it takes, darling, shove it to one side and do something else.

    Unless it's Gone With the Wind, of course.

  22. Once again, Seekerville hits me where it hurts. :-) I needed a pep talk as I haven't sent in my revision request yet. :-( I had set my goal to be the end of June and's nearly the end of July. Have some valid excuses and some plain ol' fear excuses and meshed together they've left me floundering a bit. I'm regrouping and vow to hit send soon...ish. :-)

  23. Wow, I could raise my hand on all SEVEN of those reasons for not reaching the end on a ms, but especially 5, 6, and 7.

    And those are 5 great reasons to encourage us to get TO the end as well.

    Mathematics: yep. Even if we're not good at mathematics, we'll need to figure out the time schedules for all of our projects.

    I'm blessed to have THREE writing projects collide this month: I have a novella due Sept 1st, galleys on one due Aug 7th, and line edits on another due Aug 20th.

    Am I in panic mode? Nope. I'm excited and know I can easily complete all three and will stick doggedly to a schedule.

    I thrive on schedules and deadlines. I'm like a rudderless ship without them.

  24. I'm having a problem getting to the end because I don't want to end it! Is that weird?

    All the advice and comments are helpful and appreciated—you girls are soooo good! :-)

  25. Wilani, I love that you are tinkering with your children's book. Isn't it fun to pull out projects, dust them off and use your skills to improve them? Yay for you!

  26. I've heard agents and editors say that they never receive a huge portion of projects they request at conferences, and these are the reasons.

    I'm guilty myself.

    I will admit that I didn't follow through on submitting to 2-3 publishing houses on the last pitches I gave because I SOLD to Tyndale. So, I think that's one legitimate reason NOT to submit, yes? :)

  27. Ahhh Tina, I must confess to all of those. sigh. I can't believe I would ever do that, but they did. That is why you should never say "never". LOL

    Thanks for the kick in the behind.

  28. Yes, Pammers. Great and super duper reason.

  29. Piper, were really a treat in person.

    For the folks in Seekerville:

    Piper has a lovely accent and is tall and graceful with the presence of a model.

  30. Thank you, Cindy W.

    I know about time crunch. Trust me.

    I just started my second part time job.

    So I try to keep my focus narrowed. Hang in there!

  31. You are so right, Virginia.

    Finishing makes you feel good about yourself. Period.

  32. Ah! Coffee and cookies, Ruthy.

    The perfect mix. Thank you.

    Patience is key, but eventually numbers tell the tale.

  33. Virginia, that is very powerful. I had a friend who DIDN'T finish her degree.

    3 semesters of computer programming under her belt and her mother (who lived in a different state) had an accident...nothing life-threatening. I think she broke her leg, if I remember correctly.

    For the biggest portion of her life, my friend had lived with her grandparents and her mother hadn't been there for her, but her mother begged, whined, wheedled, until my friend dropped out of college and left to go take care of her mother who was not alone, btw.

    I'm sure she was blessed for making the sacrifice, but there was someone else in that scenario that could have made a sacrifice for once.


    I must not frown.

    Where's the breakfast buffet? I need bacon, and eggs, and biscuits with sawmill gravy. Sideboard is being set up as we speak!!!!

  34. LOL, Gosh, Jackie, that story would have depressed me too. Go back and rewrite it and give your character a dark chocolate addiction.

  35. We can do it, Deb. This is the first step.

    Meet you here next week for our weekly meetings.

  36. I was looking for the food and now see that Ruthy brought cookies.


  37. Hey, Elaine, I write posts about what I can relate to. I can relate to this.

    I began to solve this problem by entering the Golden Heart each year. You have to have a completed msc.So I started a domino thing going. Every year I entered my completed mscs so far. Eventually I had many to enter and finaled twice.


  38. Well, that's a FUN reason, Mary Hicks.

    I like that!

    So what you do is write a sequel.

  39. LeAnne, the cure for that is to start another manuscript.

  40. The joy of your dilemma Jamie, is that you can go back and finish those started stories!!!

  41. DebH, I love that you were able to finish your Killer Voices story!!! See, that experience taught you what you don't want to repeat. :)

    Reminds me of the time I went to visit my cousin for a few days. I was probably 8-10 years old. I had skinned my knee pretty badly prior to the trip and it was just beginning to heal.

    Somehow in the round of ripping and running and playing, apparently the nice little part that helps a scrape heal got knocked off. (Trying to be delicate here since we're just now eating breakfast...)

    When I got home, I told Mama all about re-injuring my injury, and said, "Remind me that the next time I ask to go to Joy's, that I don't want to go."


  42. Like Ruthy, in the beginning contests were my motivation to polish, then later requests from agents and editors. Contracts are powerful motivators.

    Another motivator for those of us who do like math is to assign a dollar value to each word. 10 cents per word. Log in your word count every day and see those dollar signs add up. Or, if that's not visual enough for you, rob the Monopoly bank and use play money. Whatever it takes to write, to finish, to reward yourself.

  43. I have The End. I need Go Back. :)

    TINA, now you have me thinking out loud. If I have The End, but I haven't gone back to edit and polish, does that mean that I don't really have The End? Maybe I need to see The End as The Beginning. Hummm...Bottom line, I have A LOT of editing ahead.

  44. Kav {{{{{hugs}}}}} You are not alone. Been there, done (or rather) didn't do that. So I get it.

    But looks like you're ready to follow through NOW. So go for it! :)

  45. Tina, I have lost count of how many wannabe-published writers I've encountered over the years who either received a request or got an "encouraging rejection" with an invitation to resubmit---


    Oh, my, what lost opportunities!!!

    Super, super post!

    And I LOVE your photo!!!!! So great to see you real-time in San Antonio!!!

  46. LYNDEE, once you've typed "the end," you now have something to work with!!! So much easier than facing the blank page (or screen, as the case may be).

    GO FOR IT!!!!!

  47. Lyndee, THE END is THE END. Revising to me is the fun part.

    So if you have typed the end you do not have this disease.

    Next post will be on Over-Editing Syndrome.

  48. Myra!!! Great to spend time with you as well.


  50. Oh. My. Goodness!

    I love your cover, Tina!

    Plus - rancher. Surely that's close to cowboy right?

    I'm usually pretty good at getting to "the end." I have several projects in various stages of undoneness - for now. I plan to come back to them when the time comes but for now play with them when I'm not working on something else more timely as they're mostly sequels to books that haven't sold.

    I've had one request I didn't submit - because I decided I didn't want to write that genre long term. The manuscript is done [and pretty decent, if I do say so myself!] and I may indie release it someday because I can and not be tied to that genre for the next five years ;).

    I have enough done now to have some flexibility though most are in the same genre :).

    Just finishing puts a writer so much further ahead than 95%* of people who want to write a book.

    Such good advice, Tina. Get to the end. There endorphin high is worth it!

    *This is a made up stat. I've not got a clue what it really is ;).

  51. Thanks much for the amazing post. It came just when I needed it. I love Tina's stories, The Ranchers Reunion being one of my all time favorites. I have her newest one on my list of books to purchase as soon as I spot it at the store.



  52. Oh, yes, Tina, thanks for the reminder!!

    Having to have a completed ms for the Golden Heart was a HUGE motivation to complete a new ms every year.

    And, after I got a few under my belt, I was able to pick and choose which ones were the strongest each year....GH opens in late November, I think.

    ACFW's Genesis contest has NINE inspirational categories and requires a completed ms as well, so that is another great motivator, and it opens for entries in January, that's FIVE MONTHS away. :)

  53. While I was muddling through trying to come up with some ASTOUNDING WORDS OF WISDOM, Tina advised Mary H to start a new ms. She also advised LeAnne to do the same.

    Tina is so smart!

  54. Tina, this is a good post.
    I generally have two manuscripts going because I took to heart Mary Connealy's frequent admonition to "Be ready." I've got my "official" WIP, the one that I work on with critique partners, and then I have a "next up" or early-stages WIP to which I can go when I'm letting the first one "sit" for processing. It's nice if you can have more than one thing going, at different stages.
    I don't THINK I'm going to bog down after I get a contract or a deadline, because I have waited for this for so long. But I've learned in talking with the Seekers and other published writers that there's a whole different set of stresses when you're published or contracted. I don't think I'll be afraid, but I have learned to never say never.
    Ruthy is right, it's important to treat it like a business -- a CREATIVE business.
    The cookies are good, Ruth.
    I am on vac this week and plan to take a couple of road trips. I find that being away, any "away," recharges me and gives me more to bring to The Work, even if where I go has nothing to do with The Work. For example, I'm going to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, which has nothing to do with the Oregon Trail. But being around other people's creativity gives mine a needed boost.
    Kathy Bailey

  55. Oh, but Lyndee, THE END is an amazing place to be. I'm sprinting to THE END of this novella so that I can go back and built and polish.

  56. I will testify to everything you've written Tina. SO TRUE. We have been hit by everything under the sun this year. But I finally realized I needed to declutter my computer and get my request for a full out the door.

    Coming back from RWA this time has meant I have goals and know the satisfaction of seeing things through.

    I have two requests to work on and am getting to it.

    Thank you for these words of wisdom as well as your own support of me. You rock. So glad to know you are a real person, not just a two dimensional picture.

    Peace, Julie

  57. Carol! I haven't SEEN you lately and I miss you.

    Thanks for the words on the cover.

    He is a cowboy pharmacist.

  58. Kym! My all time favorite fan girl turned writer.

    What are you working on??

  59. Julie!! Way to optimize the conference experience. Serious rocking the requests going on there.

    GO GO JULIE!!!

    Yeah, it's hard to not be 3-D when you are CHUB-BE.

  60. The Mary Connealy School of Writing, Kathy Bailey.

    We all should attend.

  61. I usually get to the point where I can write 'the end' but after that I'm no good at deciding it's done. Anyone get that? Then too, I hate to leave that handsome hero that I've fallen in love with along the way, never mind the fact he keeps insisting his heart belongs to my heroine. Thanks Tina. You are always spot on. Already have that book which I am SOOOOOOOO excited to read but I would sure love that critique!

  62. I love that Kaybee said she's got the official WIP and then other stuff on the side...

    I've always done that. It helps me develop my wings!!!!

    PAM! I love the idea of paying myself, too! What a clever thought! It's the same as my mini-reward system, but monetary!!!!!!! Laughing and loving it!!!!

  63. You are in the hat for the critique, Cindy!

  64. Um WAIT A MINUTE..... Didn't The Ruthinator advise someone....

    (scrolls back....)

    Yes!!!! To Leeanne!!!!! I'm as smart as TINA!!!!!(does a happy dance around the house!!!!!)

    Starting something new is like breathing mountain air.... you reach higher.

  65. I miss all y'all, too, Tina! Who's going to STL in September?!

    I'd always heard you should have four books in process at any given time...

    1. Rolling around in your head
    2. Being written
    3. Editing [or waiting on edits/letting it stew until time to edit]
    4. Marketing - either to agents/editors or on the shelves

    I've taken that to heart - though I usually have a bunch in step 3 [in part because I HATE that part - I love the writing, I hate the editing though I like being DONE with the editing...]

    I probably shouldn't point out I'm avoiding editing by trawling Facebook and blogs...

  66. Shortly after I attended my first GRW meeting, I took part in a one day workshop given by Nancy Knight entitled, "Once Begun is Half Done." She stressed the importance of finishing the book.

    I took her words to heart and still remember the sense of satisfaction when I typed THE END.

  67. Great post, Tina! I'm 23K into a 35K novella today and I needed to hear that!

    And thanks for advertising my giveaway! :D

  68. STL, Carol? This sounds like an ominous acronym.

    OHHH! St. Louis!

    Yes. I am.

  69. You're adorable, Tina! And I love the Don't Quit/Do It meme!

    I have lots of hangups and problems, but not finishing things is not one of them. I can hardly stand to leave a book I'm writing unfinished. I am DRIVEN until I get it completed. The only thing that keeps me from finishing a book is a really good reason, like a contract to write another book. It's just the way I'm wired, I guess.

    But right now I'm having a hard time making myself to work on the keynote speech and the two workshops I'm doing this weekend at a conference! I'm so nervous that I almost can't bear to even look at them! Plus, it's been an extremely busy, tiring, and stressful week already and I haven't had much time at all. :P Got! to get to work! on those! Now!

  70. Struggling to get to the end is my problem exactly, Tina. I think I have every issue you mentioned. It is good to be reminded that I need to keep on.

    I would love to get a copy of your book. I don't have a chapter written yet to critique.

  71. I really want to see you at ACFW in Sept. Cry, cry, sob, sob. I may have to go after all.

  72. Color me easily confused. But I just made a fresh pot of Starbucks Italian Roast. I should be fine soon.

    I addressed Sandy Smith earlier. But it was actually for Jackie Smith. So sorry.

    Waving to Sandy Smith the writer! Go Sandy.

    Waiting for Jennifer Smith to arrive. LOL.

  73. LOL. Melly! You are too cute.

    What conference are you speaking at. Ew ended with a preposition. Sorry.

    And what is going on with the GRW Maggie Contest for Pubs. Two weeks late today!

  74. Hey, Tina! Yeah, I got a few emails about the Maggies being late. It would be nice if my book finaled. :-)

    I'm speaking at the Mississippi Writers Guild conference. I've taught workshops before, but I've never done a keynote speech. Every time I look at my speech, I change it. I keep thinking, Why would anybody want to listen to me? I know, I know. I just can't help it.

  75. Mellie! You so need to come to STL! But you know I think that :D.

  76. When I work at either of my libraries and see MELANIE DICKERSON books being circed-I know why you should speak.

    Your books make a difference. This is your call from God. That's the only reason to do it.

  77. If 'the end'
    was really the end
    then 'the end'
    could be my friend;

    But 'the end'
    is just the point
    where it starts
    all over again:

    Decisions, revisions
    loose ends to fix
    more polish to apply
    than there’s ink in the mix.


    I’ve learned my lesson
    'the end's' no friend
    so I’ll never use
    those two words again.

    And if the time comes
    when it’s really the end
    I’m just going to type


    I couldn’t disagree less with Lyndee. : )

    P.S. See Ruth post below.

  78. Getting inspired by reading both post and comments. This is why I love Seekerville.

    Thanks Ruthy and Tina for the encouragement. Again, Seekerville is awesome for learning and support groups. All you Seeker ladies are AWESOME!

  79. Fireworks, Not


    Last night, after sharing a bottle of Champaign to Celebrate our 36th, I checked the Seekerville site and read your words:

    “I could not agree with you more!!!!!”

    Of course, I read ‘not agree’ as what it means, ‘disagree’ and I thought, ‘that’s pretty strong…there will be fireworks following this comment. I’ll read them in the morning.”

    But in morning and in the light of day the fireworks had faded away. You’d used ‘not agree’ to mean ‘agree’. You found a phrase that means the opposite of itself!


    Math may be math but logic, who knows? Like Lyndee, I couldn't disagree with you less! : )

  80. Vince in verse.

    Thankfully not terse.

    That would be worse.

  81. (waving from the back of the room where the lurkers sit)
    I wrote the end, Tina, and am now doing the part I like best. Editing and revising. I like having something to work with.

    And I am so excited to say I'll be in STL for the ACFW! Squeeee! My very first big conference! :-)

    P.S. I've loved seeing all the pictures and hearing the stories from the RWA Convention. They're popping up all over. On blogs, FB, and writer's loops. So fun!

  82. Vince, I love it!!! And you!!!!!

    I was in total agreement with grave emphasis!!!!!

    Not dead emphasis, mind you, that would be silent, indeed, but grave to reflect on the seriousness of the highly esteemed level of agreement.

    And that's that.

    Mellie, Tina's right. We always listen to Tina.... but I'm okay with not being in St. Louis. We still have the week open, but I've got plates spinning in September, and if I drop one, I'd be disappointed in myself because I can SEE how busy it's going to be.... One more year and I go part time with work, so maybe then... but honestly, I'm so blessed to connect with all o' youse here and on facebook, that I always feel like I'm a part of everything.

    CLARI!!!!!! I love that you're keepin' on, girlfriend, this is what we must do!

    Write on, my friend!

    Clari, have you ever thought... Of using yourself as an example heroine and writing a story about a heroine who loves to snap pictures, but snaps the wrong one????? and is hunted for it?????

    You must write this, I can so see it happening!!!!

  83. I have, Ruthy! Especially when I snapped that picture with the hanging scarecrow I posted to FB earlier this summer. I might have even scurried home a teensy bit faster after taking that shot.

  84. CLARI!!! YOU'LL BE IN ST LOO! HURRAH!!! Cannot wait and congrats on THE END.

  85. Writing "The End" is one of the most gratifying things I've done. Of course, "the end" wasn't truly the end. Revising and editing came next. But those tasks aren't nearly as daunting as the blank page. :)

  86. Writing "the end" is one of my favorite things to do!

    It's the slogging my way through the middle to get there that's the problem :/

    BUT - I seem to have gotten the knack of it. So far. We'll see how the next book goes....

    And I can't wait to see people in St. Louis!!!

  87. You are sweet to say that, Tina. <3

  88. Off to the day job. Will comment during break, peeps.

  89. Yes, Ruthy is brilliant. She advised LeAnne to start something new as well. My bad.

    The problem, Ruthy, is that you always tempt me with less, so when I'm around you, everything else fades into oblivion while you dangle yummy cookies over my head.

  90. STL....ME!!! Whoo-hoo!

    Melanie, you know you want to... :)

  91. The Mississippi Writers Guild Conference is 2-3 hours from me. I have family who live 20-30 minutes away from the venue and I had planned to attend, but alas, deadline looms. :(

    Will miss seeing you, Mel. I know you will be great!

  92. Tina, too many Smiths, aren't there?:)

  93. Hi Tina,

    Thanks so much for the encouraging post today. You were speaking to me and where I'm at in my first novel. Think I'm about 75% of the way towards those two magic words and will press on. I'm also about to enter my first contest and a little excited but also fearful. Thanks again and take care. The End !

  94. Ooohhh, speaking of snapping pics.

    When my oldest was about 3, we were in DC on a beautifully restored carousel.

    Hubby was standing on the sidelines taking pictures, and I was sitting on one of the horses/lions on the inside so that Sean could ride on the horse on the outside and wave at his daddy as we went round and round and round.

    When we got the pictures developed there was a MAN standing a few feet behind us ON THE CAROUSEL who didn't really look like he belonged there. He wasn't holding on to a kid or anything like that. He was looking directly at the camera. In the next frame (after we made another round), he was GONE.

    Was he trying to grab my child? Was there some kind of drug or document swap? A spy mission? What was it??? And we had his picture ... what if...

    Those two pics and I could have written an entire book!

  95. Ruthy and pam, Thanks for the encouragement. Hopefully one of these days you will hear that i have written the words The End for at least one of these if not both of these.

  96. Wilani, I have no doubts! Go get 'em, Tiger!!!!!!

    Carol Moncado, it's so stinkin' nice to see you here!!!! Love it when you stop by!

    And my early mornin' peeps at 1K1HR are movin' right along on our goals. Naomi, Virginia, Jackie.... The early shift has a system goin' and we're writin'!!!!

    I love stoppin' in there, getting my daily fix of writers!!!!

  97. A writer said once that typing "The End" on a first draft story is a new beginning to revising and fixing that story to making it better. That's how I like to think of it now.

    Tina, I hope you don't mind if I print out your earlier response to me? In my family, I'm the short, stubby nerd and I would like them to see how I am perceived elsewhere. Thank you, :)

  98. LOL at what Piper said about short, stubby nerd!!!!!

    LOVE IT.

    Piper, those are clearly SILLY PEOPLE.

    So there.

  99. Clari, you have to write it... it can be suspense or just a law enforcement hero or heroine, but you're the one to do it!!!!!

    Get on it, girl, time's a'wastin'!!!!

  100. Tina, this post is packed with wisdom and truth. I've finished every manuscript I've started with the exception of a rejected proposal. And I may pick that up and take another look one day. Still, I wish I'd written more and revised less. Anyone else have that regret? Though I did learn a lot from revising, I didn't have a large body of work waiting when I got The Call.

    I have my grandson here and we're BUSY! Kids have so much energy.


  101. Pam just reading your post about the man in the pic gave me chills. How about even a short story? :-)

    Nancy C

  102. Hi Tina! Such a kick-in-the-pants post, for which I heartily thank you!

    I am proud to say I typed "The End" on my first full-length novel more than two years ago, but it's the editing of it to get it camera (well, editor) ready that has been tough. The first three-quarters are really, really good. But the ending of it has been rough. But I can do it!

    Have a wonderful day!

  103. Obviously the event sticks in my mind since it's been YEARS.

    I imagine at some point, it will find it's way into a story of some sort.

  104. Tina -- the Don't Quit/Do It is great.

    I identify with several of the items on the list, particularly the 'life gets in the way.' I resented how life interfered with my writing until a family member nearly lost his life ... and that put everything back in perspective. The tricky part for me since then, though, has been to not use 'life gets in the way' as an excuse for everything :-)

    Don't enter me in the drawing ... your book's on pre-order. I keep thinking I'll get it early but so far no such luck. Waiting. Waiting.

    Nancy C

  105. Stephanie, I wonder why the ending is tough???? Is it because it doesn't BOOM with the story points, like the end of a really loud fireworks show????

    Or is it just slightly off-center and the wrong people are being rewarded?

    We can always sense when something is off-kilter.... has anyone else read it to give opinions?

  106. Hi Ruthy! No, I think the ending itself (resolution of conflict) is fine, and I really like the ending scene. I'm just having a really hard time wrapping up a plot point that I'm considering throwing out of the entire thing. Problem is, a few people who have read the first couple of chapters really liked it! I just need to brainstorm a better resolution to THAT point, and then I think it will be solid.

  107. Tina,
    I love writing the end because I crave the endorphin high of completing a task--any task. However, that doesn't mean I always submitted it after a request so your point found traction with me.

    That said, I did this only once and it was because my agent didn't feel the book was ready. Of course she was right. By the time it was ready, I'd received another more targeted request.

  108. I am a reader but this advice is so good for life in general! Thanks! It can be applied in many situations!!!

    I would love to win the book! I love Tina's books :)

  109. Great advice. It's hard to keep going to the end sometimes, but at the very least, it's good practice. A lot of half complete projects just doesn't do you any good. I know.

  110. Just the right number of Smiths, Sandy. Too few brain cells is the problem.

  111. Becke, it is interesting how we can write THE END and then go back later to a manuscript and realize how much we have learned since we wrote it.

    On a rare occasion we find something on the hard drive and it's pure genius. AND WE WROTE IT EONS AGO. LOL

  112. You know me, Stephanie. I live to KICK IN THE PANTS.

  113. They moved the date up to September 1 on Amazon, Nancy.

    You can always get it in August on the eharlequin site. Remember that Friday is Freebie Friday. Buy four books and get one free.

  114. LOL, Piper. It is all in the perception. Too funny.

  115. Steph, I've done that, too. Tossed things out that seemed good at the time, but either I hadn't developed them well throughout the story....

    Or they just plain didn't belong there.

    And you're right, sometimes chopping them out is the best way of fixing things!

  116. Hi Mark Abel. Tell me what you write. Welcome to Seekerville.

    Brava on the contest foray!!

  117. Huh! Your characters tell you to abandon ship?

    Dying laughing, Teenster

  118. How come you're so smart, Teena-gurl?
    How can you come up with this stuff week after week, smart, wise, true, helpful.....once a month is hard for me.

    I'm thinking we are in the presence of greatness, baby. Thank you.

  119. Not that I exactly have trouble writing to 'The End'
    I suppose I keep plugging along even when I have no plot.

    Maybe there's another post in THAT for you, Tina.

    When to know your story is a loser and dump it. By Tina Radcliff

  120. I wrote a proposal for a novella and revised it today to send in and in a five paragraph proposal I cut two full paragraphs, copied them, thinking they'd fit better further on....and ended up never pasting them back in.

    Five paragraphs and I'm cutting two? I repeated myself that much in five paragraphs?

  121. Not that I write repetitive drivel or nuthin'

    I may be off topic.

  122. When To Know Your Story is a Loser and Dump it.

    I actually can address this.

    My Golden Heart (x2) finaling book.

    Revised per the editor twice. Cannot make this story work. Tired of wasting time.

    But I might be more skilled down the road and be able to make it work. So not throwing it away.

  123. Mary, I screw up. ALOT. And as long as I keep messing up, I will always have brilliant posts to share.

  124. There, you go. Draw from my life.

    Got it!

  125. Hi Tina,
    To quote your bio info, "..lives in Arizona, where she battles shiny project distraction." From a readers perspective, I'm so glad you fought those distractions!

    I just read Mending the Doctors Heart and Stranded with the rancher back to back and I'm in "Paradise" heaven! (pun intended)...Sigh and Swoon! So happy to see on your website there are 3 more Paradise books in the works. My mind is spinning with the possibilities, could it be Emily, Joe, Sam up next? Maybe even Elise or a "zillery" lady? Can't wait to find out!

    Keep fighting those distractions, Tina :)

  126. Dear Tina,

    Thanks for the tip to listen to Courtney Milan's workshop.

    For this stubborn writer, it's been a long process to recognize the importance of editing. Now that I understand how crucial editing is, I don't stop at the first the end. Just today, I caught a slip where heroine started out in white robe that segued to pink robe two pages later! But there does come a time when even I have to say the manuscript is finished and move onto the next one.

    Thanks for the advice, the encouragement, and the push to get those requests into editors and agents.

  127. Awe, thanks, Tracey.

    The next book has a working title of Return to Paradise. It's the Geek and the Macho Fireman story. New characters from Paradise but Bitsy and Patti Jo's Bakery play prominent roles.

  128. PS. Joe gets his own story in the three book deal.

  129. Tanya, I have started more spreadsheets for continuity. It's a bear to try to keep up with that. Which is why movie sets have a continuity person.

  130. Thanks Tina, the suspense was killing me! I just sang your praises on Amazon :)

  131. Tina distracted?????

    Surely you jest.

    I've got a couple of those stories that just didn't spin for editors...

    Eventually they become indies BUT... I keep those editor's letters or e-mails and study how to address their issues before I publish the book.

    Seriously, that's a huge help for me, it helps me to avoid rookie mistakes. Which I make ALL THE TIME.

  132. Dave's watching the prelude to the game after working all day in the very wet garden.... I started my Seeker historical Christmas novella today, so I'm spending the next hour working on that....

    Baseball and Idaho in the 19th century....

    I like flexibility!

  133. Ruthy, I love your indies, they're some of my favorites, so don't stop because of what an editor says (is that sacrilegious to say in the writing world? :)

  134. Hi again Tina,

    I write speculative, thanks for asking. My story is called Ephesus, it's based on the messages to the churches from the Bibles book of Revelation. The story is a dual plot that tracks the adventures of two churches who have lost their way. Both churches have lost their love for the Lord and for one another.

    Now it sounds like I'm giving you the one sentence book pitch! Thanks again for your post.

  135. Good pitch, Mark.

    You're ready for ACFW, St. Louis.

  136. My biggest problem is usually Life gets in the way. Now I seem to be Distracted by shiny new (non writing) Ideas. I m now off to look up Goldilocks Syndrome. I think I have Writers Hypochondriac Syndrome. No more excuses! Getting back on track!

  137. And please enter me! I can't wait to read Stranded with the Rancher!!

  138. Shines new ideas aren't as big a problem for me as tiredness. Then I convince myself I'll write all weekend, then I don't, well you get the picture. I would love the book or critique. But I could REALLY use that critique. :-)

  139. Wow, y'all are having a party in here today! (I can say y'all after spending 5 days in Texas ;) )

    I made the mistake of trying to read all the comments before I commented myself. At this rate, I'd never get to The End of this discussion.

    Great post, Tina. Even if it does hit a wee hit too close to home. Great discussion, everyone. Good luck to all those trying to finish and to all those starting something new.

  140. Donna! Maybe I need to write about more writer diseases, like "I NEED A SNACK Disease.

  141. B12 tabs. I highly recommend them, Terri.

    I worked from 10 am to 8 pm Monday and wrote this post.

    B12 is my Energizer Bunny power on.

  142. Mary Curry! Good to see you again!


    But, Oh. My. Gosh. It took me the third time reading it to get that "DO IT" WAS PART OF "DON'T QUIT."

    I need to quit now ... reading -- not writing -- and get some sleep.


  144. I'm printing out the "Don't Quit 'Do IT" sign and taping it in front of my nose at my computer!

  145. Mark Abel, I love speculative stuff!!!!! Dude, what an interesting concept.

    (I said Dude. Does that make me cool or stupid? Answer is NOT REQUIRED).

    Tracey, thank you!!!! :) We have one that editors are looking at but if they don't make the leap soon, it will come out as an indie because I love the story and I think readers will too. But I also understand that publishers take a big risk... and that must be assessed carefully.... whereas if I put it out myself, the risk falls on me and I've got big shoulders...

    Your comment will leave me smiling all day!!!

  146. You must not quit!! What would I read if you did?

  147. Tina, I appreciated this post. Great points. Needed to hear this.
    Cindy Huff

  148. >> Tina Radcliffe said...
    You can always get it in August on the eharlequin site. Remember that Friday is Freebie Friday. Buy four books and get one free.<<

    Good grief! Totally forgot about the harlequin site. Thanks!

    Nancy C

  149. The great thing about being at the end of the posts is that you get all of Tina's wisdom and then some! I am between ADD and finishing my first WIP. I have already written the end but have a sagging middle ---no pun intended. That is the trouble with being a pantser. Please enter my name in the drawing for the fabulous prizes

  150. Thank you for the encouragement this morning! I had set my WIP aside (self-doubt, writer ADD, life...), but I don't want to be just another wannabe. I am working on my first novel, and I guess it was time for a kick in the seat. I will get back to it and write to The End. Thanks for the kick!

  151. LOL. Julie. That was a subliminal message.

  152. Hi Edwina! Print away. I did the same thing.

  153. Hey Mary Preston! Thanks for the encouraging words for writers.

  154. Come on Sarah, you can do it. Report back on your progress.

  155. This was the post for me. I let fear stop me from submitting an historical to Harlequin. I'd pitched it and to my surprise she said yes. I looked it over and it needed a little update and then I let those crazy thoughts creep into my head until I didn't submit it. :(

    The last two years I've been working on getting past those crazy thoughts and I'm ready to write THE END.

    Thank you for this post, its good to know I'm not the only one feeling like this.

  156. Hi Tina,

    I'm here to announce. "I will finish my manuscript by the end of May of next year." Wow, it was scary just to write that statement. I don't want to be a hypocrite. But my youngest will start first grade. I will have 10 hours in a week dedicated to writing. No excuses. I will have Thursdays and Fridays to myself when my sons are in school. On other days I have to work. Hopefully, I will reach my goal! I have to use God's gift to me and work! I know the accuser will try to do anything to keep me away. This year I went through so many trials. I wanted to give up on so many things. I struggled. Hopefully, this year is preparing me to hold on to the next. Things can't get worse. So, I'm positive. This year still will be hard on me. But I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  157. Thanks for a wonderful post, Tina! I'm also going to send a writer friend (or two) to read it. I was shocked at the RWA's stats that said the majority of those who get requests never send them in. Writing my first book was by far the most difficult and took about 14 months. I wouldn't give up (even while suffering constantly from writer ADD) until I hit The End. A wonderful feeling. Enter me in the drawing, I'm feeling lucky!

  158. Ohhhh so true...

    Especially #1 and #4.

    Thanks for the usual good kick in the hind end, Sarge! ;)

    Sounds like the conference was a good one. Looking forward to hearing/reading more!

    And. You. Look. MARVELOUS!!

  159. Great post, Tina! Love your profile photo!!! :)

  160. Welcome Maria Michaels!!! You are entered in!

  161. KC! Oh, my gosh I am so guilty of all of those excuses. And I am behind on email right now, so forgive me. Currently 1023 emails in my in box. RWA and a new job put me way behind.

  162. Way to go, Anna. Keep checking in. I'll be happy to kick you in the pants when you need it. LOL

  163. Come on, LaShaunda, YOU CAN DO IT. YOU CAN DO IT!!!