The 70 to 90 Zone

So . . . I am about 70% of the way through the first edit of my novel. And I am noticing that the next several chapters? Dudes, they suck. Not like a straw, or even a vacuum cleaner, but like a vast vortex of doom which annihilates all with its irresistible powers of sucktitude (that is totally a word).

Don’t get me wrong, I still love my novel. It’s just clear to me that I lost my grip during the last week of NaNoWriMo. It’s okay; I’m dealing with it. Rewriting is happening. I am determined to get through it, so I can start on the next editing pass.

Looking ahead, I can see that the final 10% of the novel is all right–that is, it’s exactly what a first draft should be, and will need much work, but not, perhaps, to be completely rewritten. I hope.

Writing Buddy Laura is experiencing the same thing. She says she experienced it when editing her first novel too–the 70 to 90% section was the worst.

I’m calling it the 70 to 90 zone. I’m wondering if other writers experience this? Or if Writing Buddy Laura and I are just our own little writing borg? (We still haven’t settled which of us is 1 of 2, and which of us is 2 of 2. It’s quite the conundrum.)

So, my friends who have written and edited multiple works: is the 70 to 90 zone always a place of dread? Or is it just me and Laura?


10 thoughts on “The 70 to 90 Zone

  1. In my experience, yes, that point of the novel is always a little sucky. It’s the very last of the tired-and-bored-with-this section, the middle of the novel that makes a writer want to quit. It’s the point where you’re just making stuff up in a race for the end before the end itself spurs you on and gives you some good ideas. I’m almost there in editing my current project, and I notice that my characters are drinking a lot of tea and talking about nothing. All of it is getting cut.

    1. Barbara, my characters drink WAY too much tea. I think they are addicted to caffeine. I’ve tried talking to them about this, but every time I turn around, they’re drinking tea again. *shakes head*

  2. It IS good to know its not just us! And if I’m honest about what I’m reading, I already knew that…because generally, the most boring part of all books, is the 70-90%!!

  3. I wonder if it’s more the fact that there’s a hurry factor that causes the sucking chapters. Maybe it’s better to take your time and let things develop naturally rather than try to make the deadline.

    1. Of course the hurry factor does contribute! I mean, you can’t put out words at that speed for long without it getting dicey. But I also think there’s something about that section of the book, where you’re trying to build the intensity even AFTER some of the big secrets are out, that is particularly challenging. Lots to juggle and balance, trying to weave together all the strands you’ve introduced, etc . . . difficult. But it’s coming along quite well, I think . . .

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