Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Guest Post: Elana Johnson on the Hardest Part of Writing SURRENDER -- The End

As part of the Surrender Blog Tour, Elana Johnson is here today to talk about the hardest part of writing Surrender -- The End.
And dude, don't you just love the blue of this cover? :) So. Much.

If you think that's awesome, check out the blurb:

Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father's rules: He's the Director. It's because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent--a power so dangerous, no one is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.

All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn.

Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque…. 

Dude, I got a sneak peak and I have so much love for this book. I know you're jealous, so you can buy it here because I'm better at sharing cool things than I used to be. It hit shelves yesterday and is available now! Hooray! Also, pop back on Monday when I'm going to blog about a time I didn't surrender and give away some copies of Elana's books! :)

And now, I'll turn you over to Elana for her brilliant guest post:

The Hardest Part of Writing SURRENDER -- the end
by: Elana Johnson

Okay, so if you’re an author you get how hard writing the end of something can be. Maybe. It’s different for everyone. For me, writing the end of a book is incredibly hard. See, I open all these little threads and most of those have to be tied off by the time the book closes.

And that’s a lot of suturing. I now know why doctors go to school for so long. Writing is like surgery for me. It’s messy and painful and in the end there’s this big scar. Okay, not really the part about the scar, but the rest is true.

So writing the end of SURRENDER proved to be just as painful as the end of POSSESSION. In case you don’t remember from last year’s blog tour, I cut a huge chunk of the end of POSSESSION and rewrote from blank pages. I didn’t quite have to do that this time, but SURRENDER is dual-narrated. Which means the stories in each narrator’s voice have to match up in the time line.

Oh, how I hated the time line. I moved chapters. Sections of chapters. Deleted chapters. Rewrote chapters or sections of chapters. I actually had to use a calendar to make sure the days and nights were all lining up.

It took a lot of mental effort. It took a long time.

In addition to the time line consideration at the end of SURRENDER, there were a lot of particularly nasty plot things (technical term—ha!) I needed to close. I never know how my books are going to end, so the revision process on the final ¼ of my books is intense. Let’s just say that there’s a scene in a farmhouse in the Goodgrounds at the end of SURRENDER. If you’ve read the book, you probably know which one I’m talking about. If not, yes! The Goodgrounds comes back into play!

Anyway, there’s this scene in the farmhouse. That particular scene was rewritten at least four times. The first time I wrote it, there were characters that don’t exist anymore. The second time, there wasn’t enough pain (spoiler). I can’t even remember the third time, probably because I cut the whole thing and started over. The fourth time, I think I figured out how the characters get out of the house and wrote that.

I think I finally got it the way it needed to be. That’s how writing the end is for me. A process in trial and error.

What about you? Is writing the end easy? Or do you labor over it the way I do?

This week, as part of the SURRENDER blog tour, you can win one of three $15 Barnes & Noble gift cards and become a winner winner, chicken dinner! All you have to do is fill out this rafflecopter widget with what you’ve done. NOTE: One of the options is to blog about a time you didn’t surrender. Go here for full details on this, including how to sign up for your free swag package!


Thanks so much for stopping in Elana! If you haven't met/heard of Elana, that must be remedied immediately. Seriously, she's one of the coolest, most genuine people I've ever met. She rocks.

Here are a couple of places you can get to know her better:


  1. I really enjoy writing the end and I know that soon I'll be done with my novel. I can feel it, I really can. I've been revising steadily since March and my goal is for this whole thing to be ready to query by September. I think my hardest writing days are when I can't seem to write the words. I stare at the pages or get so distracted by other things that I don't end up writing anything.
    Happy release week, Elana! and Jenn thanks for this great guest post :-)

  2. I have the same issue with timelines and endings, so I totally get what Elana was saying. And dude, I LOVE Surrender. It's awesome.

  3. I’m part of the blogfest, and is it ever cool!

  4. I have a friend who writes and directs screenplays/movies. He swears by his method of writing the end first.

    Maybe one day I'll try that. Until then, like you I will be trying to tie everything together for a proper and exciting end.

  5. I know as a reader the endings are important to me. I like happy endings and to know that everything will be okay in the end. I have to trust the writer and sometimes I get disappointed. I Usually don't read those authors again.

  6. Elana, this was so encouraging to me. Writing remains the hardest thing I have ever attempted, and yet the most rewarding as well. Though as I embark on my second book, it's nice to be reminded that it IS indeed hard. It's just life. I need to accept it and press on. CONGRATS on this massive accomplishment! It's been such and honor to see you take the world by storm :)