Friday, July 16, 2010

[Book Update] Chapter 15 Results So Far

On Tuesday, I lamented my ongoing difficulties with Chapter 15. I wasn't super-happy with it after making major revisions over the weekend, and it wasn't especially well-received on Monday evening at the Writer's Group. Which isn't to say it was panned by any means, just that the group (accurately) noted some significant issues with it that needed to be fixed. The main POV character was too introspective and there was too much imagery and detail, which distracted them, as readers, from the chapter's action. It's a chapter set during a battle that, if not exactly pitched (for the defenders, anyway), still ought to seem tense and dangerous. The chapter I wrote had too much of the POV character looking around and reflecting on his life and otherwise getting off-topic from the battle, which they didn't care for.

I have not written anything since then, this week. That is not a coincidence. My mind is working - at its own speed - on fixing this chapter, but it's a huge task for my wee little brain. It will most likely, once I get my thoughts in the right place, involve starting Chapter 15 with a blank page and reworking it from the beginning, pasting in pieces of the old draft that worked well, interspersing them with new material and cutting out some stuff that didn't work. Doing this hurts my brain, so I find myself having to work up the nerve to start on it. This sort of reconstructive surgery isn't something I feel I'm good at - I often end up with a finished product that's less than I'd hoped it would be, and I find that it took longer to get there than I wanted and, often, that I left out things that I'd badly wanted to include. These may be concepts that are necessary to the story (or just interesting) or, in some cases, well-written selections of text that I failed to carry over from the old draft and no longer fit cleanly into the new draft. These especially tick me off. When I'm lucky enough to write something really well, the last thing I want to do is leave it out not because it didn't belong but because I was negligent and I forgot about it.

So that's where we stand. I've made some progress - I wrote out a page by hand that I think represents how Chapter 15 Mark IV will begin, and I've got some ideas about the order in which to reveal certain information that should (I hope) help to build and sustain dramatic tension. What I really need to do is sit and take notes about the prior/current revision of the chapter so that I can document clearly those things that need to carry into the new draft and, better still, put them into the correct order. But, again, not my favorite thing to do, so I'm procrastinating. Luckily, this sort of procrastination often occurs when my subconscious is diligently chewing on the problem and frequently results in really useful and valuable ideas, so I've learned not to get too upset about it. Still, when the week's over and I've written very little, I'm going to wish I'd gotten more done whether or not my subconscious produced some magic tricks in the interim.

No comments:

Post a Comment