Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chapter 10, take three. Trust the process...

Because I feel as though my writing has stagnated in the past couple months - which is partially true and partially me being too hard on myself - I decided that I would write my brand-new June-centric Chapter 10 draft in only four days so that Frankie and I could have another mini-critique session on Sunday.

See, I've been super-busy in the non-writing aspects of life - I went on a lovely 5-day Jamaican vacation (see picture!), and I had three freelance proofreading/copyediting jobs in a row (nothing to complain about), and everyone seems to be celebrating something that I am required (and want) to attend. So I sent off my final batch of copyedits Monday night, and when I came home from work Tuesday, I plopped my rear in the computer chair and began typing.

Chapter 10, version 3 has been itching in my brain since prior to Jamaica, but it intimidated me when I sat down to write. Maddy and Nina are not speaking to June in it, so the chapter lacks the group dialogue that I feel is the novel's strength. But I knew I was on the right track with the plot of the chapter, so I plowed forward.

- An aside: If you're wondering about my writing speed - over the past two nights, I wrote ten pages working for a total of 6.5 hours. And that's a good speed for me. Sometimes I can only write a page an hour, because most of that time I'm writing multiple versions of sentences and scenes in my head before finally typing out what I think is the strongest option. As I'm sure we've mentioned, Frankie writes much, much faster than that, but she tends to type multiple full versions of chapters before settling on one.
Also, when I write I prefer to be alone in the room or have it library-silent. If it's noisy and chaotic around me, even if just the TV's on, I have an awful time focusing. Sometimes I want music, sometimes not. I can't listen to pop. It has to be alt-rock or something chill that I can listen to without actually listening to it. If that makes sense. And if you interrupt me I can get a little cranky, because it takes effort to get into my productive zone, and I hate being distracted from it.

Anyway, I finally went to bed after my tenth page, semi-dissatisfied with what I'd written. I didn't want the chapter to be twenty pages of June all whiny and alone. Yes, the situation isn't a happy one for her, but she's not the type to sit and mope. Apparently writing intensely for three hours is equivalent to caffeine for me, since I wasn't able to fall asleep for over an hour. The good news was, in that in-between time, I figured out two things that would liven up the remainder of the chapter. First, I needed June to approach Nina. Because June and Maddy have homeroom and lunch together, they had built-in dramatic scenes. So now June's going to corner Nina in the hallway. But my favorite idea was this - in an effort to get to Nina, June's going to seek out Raemont, Nina's co-worker and semi-love interest, whom June's never met. I'm SO excited to bring these two very different characters together in their own scene. What complicates things more is that Rae's currently not speaking to Nina because she hid something from him. The possibilities!

So why did I write this post? First of all, I knew the track I wanted to follow, but the execution was a little weak. But I pushed forward and figured out a really cool way for the chapter to be more interactive, something I'd never even considered doing. And it's making the three storylines weave more naturally - previously, Rae only had direct interaction with Nina. I can't wait to see how he acts around June (I know it sounds ridiculous, but even though I'm writing it, I don't know yet!).

I'm pretty darn proud of my eureka moment, even if it's something small in the grand scheme of things. And it gives me enough momentum to move forward and trust in my skills a bit more. We'll see what Frankie thinks on Sunday!

Ever have a eureka moment yourself? What was it?

1 comment:

  1. Oooh cool! That's a very interesting deviation and I can't wait to read it! So I'm currently working on the end of chapter 4-I've written about 80 pages this week (but I haven't had work). Even though I work with a very detailed plot, I tend to let my characters have a bit of freedom. It's like I'm the (word is escaping me, but the person who spots someone climbing up the mountain) and my characters are climbing and my plot is the rope. I give them a lot of slack usually. So today I let them have a ton of slack at the end of chapter 4 and I realized, this was too much slack and I was going to write myself into a corner. I finally realized, my plot is right and I shouldn't give so much slack and so I deleted 4 pages. So I suppose that's my little eureka moment of the day.


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