Sunday, December 6, 2009

Chapter Twelve is Past Tense

Yes, this evening (after a day spent shopping for Xmas trees and then purchasing a fine 1940s-era china cabinet for the dining room) I finished Chapter Twelve, "South." It was, and I don't mind saying this, a real bitch to write. I took a couple of days off from prose writing to figure out where I was in the story and what needed to happen, because I'd gotten lost. What I actually did to find my way again was start at the end of Chapter 17 and work backwards through the story to where I was in Chapter 12. That worked a treat and now I have a much more solid map through the Second Act.

wordcountometer = 26,147!

The wordcount is a bit low by my estimate, which might worry some folks, but I know that revisions will expand things I've only sort of sketched in at this point. I always find more things to say, you know.

Next up, Chapter Thirteen, Cocke & Hope. There was no killing in Chapter 12, but there was sex. Same deal for Chapter 13, though I consider producing a corpse, just because it's been a while. We'll see.


  1. It seems we are on the same page again Mr. Bailey. We must have some sort of strange telepathic communication because I also did the same thing this weekend.

    I got lost somewhere in Chapter 3 and had a quick scene in a ballroom I needed to expand so I started writing Chapter 6 and ended up going all the way to Chapter 9. It was exhilarating to accomplish 5500+ words in such a short writing period.

    And by the way, what exactly are you writing? Cocke & Hope sounds like XXX erotica... *gigglegigglegiggle*. Or is it "literary sex"? Are you setting precident for a whole new genre?

  2. Piedmont: Congrats on the progress! 5500 words is awfully impressive.

    I don't know what you mean by "exactly." I'm writing a book about criminals in Colonial America, sort of. But it's not "historical fiction." Nor, thankfully, is it porn or erotica even though there seems to be more sex than I thought there'd be. All of the sex is described in an elliptical manner; I've never met an explicit sex scene that was anything but dumb.

    At about midnight it occured to me that, even though I'd spent hours working on my second act story arc and outline, there was still something missing: a concrete goal for the characters in the middle of the book. I had them sort of milling about while the emotional arc worked itself out, but now I've given them an actual goal and I feel a whole lot better about the story. There was no explicit dramatic plot to carry the narrative forward during the character/story arc. I'm happy that I figured out what was bothering me and making the second act so hard to write. Of course this means I have to rewrite some of the last two chapters, but that's better than having characters drift along.

  3. How do you write a sex scene in an elliptical manner? I need help with that...since Monarch has some scenes that I'm really struggling with.

    Congrats on your progress! And to you, too, Anne! That's very impressive! It takes me weeks to write that much.

  4. Michelle: You know, you find something to focus on other than what goes where. Like the monologue of Molly Bloom's in the last chapter of "Ulysses" or something. I don't have my ms to hand since I'm at work, but I have one scene with something like "He struggled with all her skirts and then she struggled on top of him and then he struggled to not make any noise" where it's pretty clear from context what's happening, but no anatomical details, shall we say, are given. The more that's left up to the reader's imagination, the better. Otherwise it's just porn and porn is always silly. The main thing, I think, is to convey to the reader what the actions mean to the characters. That's really what matters.

  5. Thank you, Scott. That's actually really helpful. I'll get to that point in my writing. After my break. I'm sure my characters are excited and getting pretty impatient. ;)

  6. It's funny you say that you write your sex in an "elliptical" manner. For what it's worth, I write romance and can never bring myself to actually write the "sex". Like you, I think it's pornographic and why describe it when people have their own imaginations. I don't write romance for the sex, I write it for the romance. Finding love and keeping it is what's important in my stories. Along with all the angst and craziness that goes along with it. I love the angst.

  7. I'm glad you got over the rough patch, my friend. I've tried what you mentioned before, writing backwards from some sections. It has helped me more than once. Even more than twice.

  8. Davin: I have realized that there is still something wrong with my second act. Something is missing. But I know what that is, in general terms, and am getting closer to knowing what it is in specific terms. Can I be more vague? Not likely. Working backwards helped a lot, but only solved part of the problems.

    How many more times than twice?

  9. Hmmm. I can't think of more than thrice, but I'm sure there are more. What comes after thrice?