I look back at her, knowing I have let her down.
Makani gives me her penetrating, frustrated look. "Finish the story," she tells me without speaking.
I fidget. I have finished her story, but I haven't made it complete yet. That's the problem with writing the end before you get there.
It started last year when I took a class for writing novels. The goal in the class was to write 50,000 words, that make sense, in one novel story. Since a novel is generally longer than 50,000 words, I purposefully wrote long, going into as much detail as I thought fleshed a scene and character out without aiming to finish the story at the word count.
Of course, I was ambitious and thought I would hit the word count and keep going, still finishing my novel within the duration of the class.
Someday I might learn.
At the beginning of the class, my teacher had told my classmates and myself that he wanted us to write the ends of our stories even if that meant we had to jump ahead to get there. (He didn't want us to leave the class without knowing how to write the end of a novel.)
The class went on smoothly enough, and I enjoyed getting to know Makani and the other characters better. After a while, the time came to write the end, and, as you might guess, ambitious though I was, I hadn't even come close to reaching the end. I had to leap I didn't know how far forward to write the end. But I knew some of what I wanted for Makani's story, so I went for it. Long, stressful, uncertain journey crammed within a few weeks later, I was satisfied with the end of Makani's story, and I had met the required word count and passed the class.
Then all I had to do was fill in the gap before I took the next class with the same teacher to edit my story about six weeks later. No big deal. Right?
I confess, I still have not filled in what turned out to be a gaping hole in the story.
Thus, Makani's stare.
She and I both know the end. We both know the things she will learn, the fears she must face, and whether or not she achieves her desires.
But the middle that's missing is important to the impact of the end. I can't just stitch together the front half to the end without the missing part. It wouldn't make as much sense, and it certainly wouldn't be satisfying.
I sigh. "I haven't got it in me." It's not true, but it's been my excuse for months. "I don't know how."
"I'm stuck back in the middle and can't move forward. What do you expect me to do?"
My lips twitch up. She is a stubborn one. That's part of why I like her so much.
"Finish the story."
I stare at my lap, contemplating how to do so, what I need to do. I could argue that I don't have the time. I could even try to argue that I don't have to finish the story. I know the whole thing; I don't have to go through it again by writing it down.
But that's not true. And we both know it.
"I need you to do this for me."
I raise my head. Now she's the one looking down, flicking her fingers. It's not easy for her to ask for help. I know that. But she's been quietly prodding me for months. I left her with no other option.
"All right, Makani."
She looks into my eyes. Hers are stunning and haunting.
I smile. "I'll finish your story."
I will be focusing more energy on finishing Makani's Serenity, and as such, do not plan to post regularly, though I will still be around and reading what I can. I do hope to post on here to let you know how far I've come, both as a certain level of accountability for me and as a way to stay connected. My other adventures have been slowing down, and I think this is a wonderful opportunity to finish my year old task. I need to finish. I need to finish for myself, for Makani, and for those of you who are interested in her tale.
Thank you for reading my blog thus far, and don't worry. I will be around and I will be back. My goal is to have this first draft done by August 14th. Let's see if I can make it together, shall we?