Friday, December 18, 2009

Chapter Thirteen Report: Uh, Not Done Yet

Last night Mighty Reader was kind enough to let me ignore her while I sat in the Designated Writing Room and worked on Chapter 13 ("South"). I'm about 2300 words into this chapter and not done yet. There are two more scenes to write (or two and a half, I guess) so I'm thinking that maybe I have about another 1000 words to go before I can figure out what I'll be doing in Chapter 14 ("Indians and Frenchmen" or something like that).

This chapter has been a real trial to write, as it's sort of the emotional heart of the book, whatever I mean by that, and so there's a lot I need to get right. Or at least, at this point, not get too wrong. Anyway, I realized that whenever I sat down to work on this chapter I got depressed, and then I realized that I was getting depressed because I'd made so many fucking pages of half-conflicting notes for the chapter that I couldn't form a picture of the story in my head and go forward. So last night I ignored my notes (except for the original notes I'd made some time ago) and just wrote. Out came about 1500 words of story, and while some of it's admittedly rough, some of it is--at least in today's changable opinion--the best stuff I've written so far. I have one difficult scene to write (difficult because it's all about character so I have to really concentrate and mean what I'm writing) and then I can finish up the chapter quickly as my notes are pretty solid for the last scene, and then, finally praise Allah, it's on to the next chapter and the rest of the Second Act which should come easily enough. We'll see.

The first draft is looking like it's going to be a tad on the short side, say around 60k words. Which is fine, and as Mighty Reader reminded me, my books always get longer during revisions no matter how much I cut because I Can't Shut Up.

Oh, before I forget: bodycount for Chapter 13 = 1.


  1. Which is fine, and as Mighty Reader reminded me, my books always get longer during revisions no matter how much I cut because I Can't Shut Up.

    You made me LOL in work cube. :)

  2. I win!

    Mighty Reader has coined the phrase "Xeno's manuscript" to reference this phenomenon. Last time I revised, I cut 5200 words and within a week the book was longer than it had been before the cuts. WTF?

  3. My problem is that I write so much to begin with, I have no idea what to take out and what to leave in. My first book was 120k, and I had to cut 30 off that. HAH! I'm still trying to figure it out. My BFF says it's because I talk too much in real life. NO??? Really??

  4. This will be the third novel I've completed, and so far all of them have been short as first drafts. The first was about 60K, the second was about 72K, and this one will idea yet. Likely around 65K-ish. I have a tendency to sort of sketch things in the first time around, and then I flesh out scenes and description at some length during revisions. Scenes I add during revisions tend to be expanded in my post-revision revisions, too.