At the end of each chapter of The Graveyard Book I've drawn a little headstone, with the number of the chapter on it.
I just drew the little headstone for Chapter 7. After one hundred and eleven handwritten pages. There's a lot wrong with it, there are bits that need to be expanded (or, in the case of one scene, written) bits that mean that I need to go and change or expand moments earlier in the book. The prose is a bit more pedestrian than most of the other chapters, and I'll need to play with it or leave it. But it's done -- and it's huge. Which, for something that, if this was a film, would be the entire Third Act, is not really surprising. As I said, it's done, and I got back to the house from the gazebo to find my assistant Lorraine still typing out from photocopies what I'd handwritten earlier in the week, an hour after she would normally have gone home, and only still typing because she wanted to know what happened next. She glared at me, and told me I had to keep writing...
Right. Now I have to think about Chapter 8 a bit. I think I may need to sit down and list everything that has to happen before the book can end. Plotting by list can sometimes be extremely useful.
(The oddest moment of today was finding a slip of paper in The Graveyard Book book I'm writing in, on stationary from the hotel I was in in Budapest in June, which listed everything that needed to happen in Chapter 7, including the climactic denouement which I was very proud of having come up with last week. Not sure whether this says something about my rubbish memory, or about the sometimes inevitable nature of storytelling. As in, "Of course it went there, because that was where it was going to go.")