Slogging Through Chapter 21

I’d like to say that Chapter 21 is complete, but it isn’t.  It’s only about half way done.  I just haven’t had a lot of time to write this week, even on lunch, because of computer problems at work and the resulting stress that falling behind at work generates at home.  I really should just sit down and finish Chapter 21 this afternoon.  But I’m feeling so mentally exhausted, I don’t know if it will actually happen.

Wish me luck.

Chapter 20 Complete

I missed a couple of updates on my chapter progressions while my power and internet were out.  I’ve been trucking right along because writing has been the most interesting thing in my life lately, especially with my internet crapping out and removing all of my other relaxing hobbies.  I love being able to check books out of the library on my tablet, but… yeah.  Need to have internet for that.

I finished chapter 19 yesterday but I didn’t really feel like posting about it.  I wasn’t sure whether I was going to keep the new version, or try to fix the old version.  I ultimately decided to keep the new version.

I was supposed to meet with my small writing group this morning, but it didn’t work out.  So I ended up having a couple of extra hours today in which to write, and I’m very excited to say that I finished chapter 20!  I’m just amazed at how much progress I’m making.  Here I was thinking that a chapter a week was ambitious, but now that I’m sitting down and writing regularly, it seems like I’m actually averaging about two chapters a week.  Admittedly, my chapters are pretty short.  But I still think it’s awesome.

When I was reviewing my outline after wrapping up chapter 20, I realized that I had skipped a couple of things that I had intended to put before this point.  The writing just moved me along to where it is now because the story arc was interesting.  But I do want to put those plot points in.  When I was thinking about whether they will fit in later, I realized that they will actually fit better later.  And this is why I’m not a strict outliner.  Sometimes the story takes me and runs with me, and if it’s better than what I planned, I’m happy to let it do so.

In Late, Out Early

After several days without power, internet, or both, I’m back!  I didn’t get as much writing done this time as last time.  I did, however, handwrite a blog entry, which I’ve typed up below:

In late, out early has turned into one of my mantras.  It basically translates into “hew your scenes close to the conflict.”  When I start a scene or a chapter and I find myself frustrated with how it is progressing, or failing to progress, it’s usually because I violated this rule.  It never hurts to step back and ask myself, where is the conflict in this chapter?  Where is it really?  If I discover that the start of the chapter is nowhere near the conflict, it’s time to scrap it and start over.

This doesn’t mean that every chapter revolves around a fight scene.  Sometimes the conflict is character versus environment, or character versus self, or character versus circumstance.  It really depends on how the scene is supposed to be moving the story along.

Just yesterday, I was writing a dialogue scene between the two PoV characters.  It was flowing along marvelously, and it pertained to something I had recently researched so I was interested in where the conversation was going.  But when I pulled up what I’d written today at lunch to continue where I left off, I hated it.  It was an interesting conversations, and the characters were great.  But it was two or three pages of text that didn’t do anything.  There was no conflict or conflict resolution.  All it did was establish that I had researched something and knew what I was talking about.

I had to scrap it.  I never really fully delete anything, but I excised it from the manuscript and put it into my wiki instead.  And then I thought about where the conflict was, and I started the chapter over where I should have started it in the first place.  The dialogue would have led me there eventually, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as clean.  The death of that dialogue hurts in some ways, because it was good and I spent time writing it.  But the story’s better without it.

Chapter 17 Complete

I ended up having to cut my original Chapter 17 in half.  I always knew that a lot of action was going to happen in 17, but there ended up being even more action than I thought there was going to be.  As I was writing I thought that I wanted to delve a little more deeply into the pov character’s reactions to what was going on, and I think it was a good decision.  On to chapter 17.2, also known as chapter 18!

Chapters 15 and 16 Complete

In bad news, I was without power since yesterday afternoon due to bad thunderstorms.  Also in bad news, the writing process update that I had planned on posting on Friday didn’t happen.  In good news, I have extended battery power in the keyboard for my writing tablet.  Since I had nothing to do yesterday and today but sit in the dark and babysit the generator, I managed to get TWO chapters done in two days.

It doesn’t hurt that I’ve been thinking about these chapters and chapter 17 for a long time now, since I’m about to hit a major turn in act 2 and I’m very excited about it.  Act 2 still has a long way to go, but since my original goal was 1 chapter a week, I’m very pleased with my progress.

Chapter 14 Complete

Finished up chapter 14 this morning.  When I was writing it, it felt like a little bit of a longer one because I was feeling my way through.  But because I was mostly hand-writing it on lunches at work, that could just be my perception.  I still have to type it up, but it’s a lot easier to type up something you’ve already written than it is to create something from scratch.

Chapter 13 Complete

I have a little bit of time this morning so I thought I would share that I’ve finished chapter 13 and am on to chapter 14.  The transition to chapter 14 was a little rough.  There was a lot of information that I wanted to impart after chapter 13… but I decided to do a short time jump.  The information was really interesting to me about the minute details of this and that, but I’m not sure it would be interesting to read.  I suspect no one will miss it.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided my working title for the novel is “The Plague.”  This won’t be the title.  It’s not really about a plague.  The plague is the setting.  But for now I really have to call it something.