Every step of this novel-writing-process has had its own challenges--issues I never thought about before I tried doing it myself. Right now I'm tying together a lot of loose ends in my story. I know generally what's going to happen but there are still many little decisions that need to be made and I want to be sure it all hangs together in a logical way. It's time to write the big climactic scenes and not only do they need to be air-tight, but all the smaller threads need to connect believably. Motivations have to make sense. Whenever a character does something, especially something risky or unexpected, I need to make sure their motivation for acting that way is believable.
I've used the puzzle analogy before when talking about language and trying to find the right words, but the plot is also a puzzle whose pieces must fit together. And elements rely on each other. So by sending a character down a particular path, countless other parts of the story are affected. It's like a gigantic web--all interconnected.
Believe me, now that I'm writing a novel myself, I can see the temptation to wrap things up as quickly and easily as possible. Sometimes I want to have a character do something that will advance the plot to where I want and expect it to go, even if it doesn't gel perfectly with that character's personality. But I resist, because I know these people so well, it would bug me too much to force them to act a certain way--a way that's out of their character--simply for my convenience.
Clear as mud, eh? Sorry to be so cryptic. It's hard to explain what I mean without describing the story itself. And that's still top secret!