A few blogs ago I wrote about my writing dry spell. Since then I started, persevered, and finished a story, but the story isn't working. Or, rather, two-thirds of it is working -- characters, voice, incidents -- but the ending is wrong. And I have no idea what the right ending might be.
This is partly a consequence of the way I work, which is the only way I can work. I never know the ending when I begin, being incapable of thinking something through until I'm actually writing it through. Usually, however, the ending occurs to me as I write, and I know it's the right ending because I'm excited about it. Passion is the literary indicator that I'm on the right track. This time, it's just not there.
Passion can take many forms. Yesterday's newspaper included a story about a woman who constructed a fourteen-feet long by four-feet high replica of da Vinci's "The Last Supper" completely out of dryer lint. She bought and repeatedly washed towels of various colors to collect the lint in the shades she needed. The project to0k 800 hours of laundry and 200 hours of gluing on laundry lint. That is passion. (It could also be several other things, but let's focus on the passion.)
My story needs a new last third. I will set it aside and hope something comes to me, but I'm not sanguine because in my experience, that doesn't happen too often. Either the right end occurs to me as I'm doing the first draft, or I never get it. Sigh. And I really liked my character, young Eliot Tremling.
If I could, I'd make Eliot a collector of dryer lint. But that isn't going to work, either. Too bad.