Boy, this chapter was a bear. It’s usually Chapter 4 that gives me problems. I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come.
I finished editing the second half of the chapter, which is told from the heroine’s point-of-view. It was essentially a total rewrite, because I had something stupid happen. I must have been really tired when I wrote the first draft of this. It was frustrating, because of the time it took. At the same time, it’s good because I’m getting a better understanding of the connection between Josie and Spencer.
I’ve been stuck on that “cute” scene for days. I pushed my computer aside to consider why it wasn’t working and why I wanted to keep it. Finally, it hit me. The scene needed more connection between the characters. I had the dialog, but there needed to be more depth to it – and a reason for the cuteness.
Here’s what I added:
Josie’s movements were stilted when she grabbed for a pen. It slipped out of her grip, did a cartwheel, and landed with a clank against the desktop. Spencer automatically reached for it, but so did she. Their hands bumped. She got the pen.
And he got her.
The moment stilled as they both stared at their joined hands. Every one of Spencer’s senses sharpened. Her skin was as soft as it looked… as supple… He saw the pink of her nail polish. He smelled her perfume again, light and airy. The pulse of her wrist seemed fast. Not even thinking about what he was doing, he stroked his thumb over it.
The steady beat took off. He looked at her swiftly when her breath caught.
But then she was pulling away. “Sorry. I can get a little clumsy sometimes.”
He doubted it. “Josie?”
Now when the cute scene comes, it has more depth. It isn’t cute anymore, it’s sweet. There’s a difference. Sweet is a feeling that you get in your chest. Maybe a tightening in your throat… And that’s what I was looking for and why I kept pounding at this scene in Chapter Two.
I’m still not 100% happy with it, but it’s time to move on. I’m pretty sure I’ll finish up on editing Chapter Two tomorrow. Yes, finally forward movement.
I’m still working on Chapter Two. During editing, I added 438 words, but I don’t think I’ll get to keep them. There’s a scene I really like that I know I need to cut. I haven’t been able to make myself do it yet, because it’s too cute — and that’s the problem. The scene doesn’t need cute at that point. But I’m still not happy with getting rid of it, so it will stay a while longer.
I learned long ago to never get rid of anything I write. With every story, I keep a file of scenes that I cut. I never know when I might find the perfect spot for them later in the book. That’s always a happy coincidence, but in reality, they probably aren’t really that random. I’ve already confessed that I visualize scenes, but they’re not necessarily in the right order. So it makes sense to keep them for later.
Anyway, I’m halfway through editing Chapter Two. I wish it was moving faster, but it just isn’t.
I’m still having trouble sitting still, but I’m trying to edit today. I’ve added just about as much as I’ve cut, so I don’t have a net change in words. What I do have are better words and better flow. As I said in my last post, I had a series of actions and dialogue by the characters. Today, I added a new beginning that does some foreshadowing of events to come. I added more texture by describing the setting in more detail (but not excruciating detail… pet peeve). When I’m editing, I concentrate on the five senses: seeing, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. It’s easy to focus on one — the seeing — almost exclusively when writing, yet the other senses link strongly to emotion, and that’s where I want to get. I made decent progress and plan on continuing my edits tomorrow. It’s all a matter of adding layers.
I’m on the disabled list with a writer’s injury. Yesterday I wrote outside, not realizing I was being eaten alive. I have so many mosquito bites today, I can’t sit still or think straight. Help! Does anyone have any remedies that actually work?
I had a word explosion today with 2171 words, but I felt very detached from what I was writing. I think I basically got the sequence of events down, but I wasn’t connecting that strongly with the characters and they definitely weren’t connecting with each other. It’s all good, though. I like editing a first draft until it sings. I’ve got words on paper (the screen) that I can play with now.
I hit what should be the end of the chapter and then went for a walk. I figured out the first thing that’s wrong with Chapter Two; it’s a stand-alone scene. I need to connect it better to the story arc of the book. It’s a really easy fix. So simple, but I missed it in the flurry of words. I also missed something that was in my notes, which is just silly. It’s funny how things come to you after you walk away from a project. You can be so deep in the woods that you can’t see the trees. The subconscious mind is a wonderful thing. It will work on problems even when you don’t know it.
I think I’m going to let Chapter Two sit until tomorrow and then dive back in with fresh eyes. Chapter Two now stands at 4447 words.
I was NOT in the mood to write today, but I knew I had to post something here. I made myself set my annoying timer and write for an hour. Once I got started, it got easier. I managed to hammer out 1184 words. I don’t know if they’re good words, but for me, editing is always easier than the blank page. Thanks for keeping me accountable.
I got a solid start on Chapter Two with 1092 words, but then I went to see Wonder Woman. I loved it — LOVED it — but now that story line is stuck in my head. And I don’t care. I’ll write again tomorrow.
I only added about 100 words today. Some writing binge, huh? The good thing is that Chapter One is in a good enough state that I can move on. I’ve got scenes of Chapter Two bouncing around in my head, but again, they’re not in order. I need to do some more plotting before I can dive in and start to write.
The weird thing is that I’ve been writing later in the day. Usually, I’m a morning writer. That hasn’t been the case so far with this book. I don’t know why, but whatever works.
I didn’t sleep well last night, and I’ve been dragging all day. With my head hurting, I really didn’t want to write, but I made myself sit down and try. I managed to get about 700 words. Better yet, I think I might be able to keep them. That last scene still needs an edit, but I think I’ve introduced the heroine better. I got inside her head so readers can understand her. Chapter One now stands at 5,152 words.
Sometimes I write in sprints. I tell myself to just work on it for an hour, and that’s my focus. I can’t hop on the Internet or go check the mailbox. It’s writing time. I recently bought a kitchen timer. It has huge numbers that show the time counting down. I can see at a quick glance how much time is left and watching the numbers tick down makes me realize I’m wasting time. I love it. It’s a simple thing. A watch or a clock or a phone will do the same thing, but they don’t have those big numbers, standing there looking at me. And they don’t have the obnoxious beep that this thing does. Hey, whatever works, right?