Often I find that nearing the end of a manuscript can be the hardest. I have no problem beginning a novel. If all I ever had to do was to write the first fifty pages of a story, I'd excel at it. I love the sense of mystery the comes with leaping into the middle of a story and slowly unraveling what exactly is going on. But the end...that is a place where great care is needed, unlike the reckless fury of beginnings.
It's not that I don't know how a story is supposed to end. Okay, sometimes I don't know how it's supposed to end, but usually I know generally where the manuscript is supposed to go for its big finale, even if I don't know what happens once I arrive. But the real challenge is constructing the elements that get you to that big finale.
As I approach this critical point in the manuscript I'm working on, there have been several critical pieces of puzzle that I'd been trying to figure out how to fit together. During my brief holiday vacation, I kept running different scenarios, playing the old what if this happens, and this happens, and then this happens game. That game never quite gives me a solution, but it does provide me something to work with. I was able to solve one important piece of the puzzle and once I had that, the others began to fall into place over the next few days. Now, after what feels like months of confusion, a clear path to the conclusion seems in sight.
A steady hand on the wheel should guide me home....but of course, shipwreck lurks around every corner when navigating the waters of novel writing. We shall see.