It’s always Chapter 4. It doesn’t matter what story I’m writing, Chapter 4 is always a bear. It’s the natural breaking point between the introduction of the characters and the set-up of the story and the middle of the book. For some reason, that transition is hard — even if I know how I want it to go. In this case, I jinxed myself, because I said I said it should go fast.
It so didn’t.
According to my time log, it took 14.5 hours to edit! Aggggg. (Yes, I log how much time I spend writing. It appeals to the geeky side of me.) The chapter just didn’t flow. The first half is written from the heroine’s point-of-view (POV), while the second half is from the hero’s. For the longest time, I couldn’t even get to the hero’s half, because I was stuck on the heroine’s scene like a needle stuck on a record. I kept going over it and over it, trying to fix it. After a couple of days, I finally realized I had an info dump. An info dump is when there’s not much going on, but you’re just spewing information all over the reader. It could be backstory, or it could be a character’s thoughts. In this case, I’d jumped forward in time, but was explaining what had happened in the interim. Not good.
The problem was how to fix it? And that was a pain. I brought in another character so the heroine could have somebody to talk to, instead of just running through things in her head. That helped. Then I switched the sequence of events. It’s still not perfect, but it’s better. Finally, I had to step away from it.
When I got to the hero’s POV, I again thought it would be smooth sailing. That’s where the love scene begins, but not even it went smoothly. And that’s a problem!
Anyway, I’m now considering Chapter Four in good enough shape to move on to Chapter Five. Never again will I assume that a Chapter Four will be easy — because Chapter Fours are evil.
That chapter went a lot more smoothly, and I’m feeling better about the story. I’m looking forward to Chapter Four, because it’s a love scene. Those always go fast. Wait. That didn’t sound good. Stamina and all… What I mean is that they’re fast to write, because… Oh, I don’t know. They just are!
1210 words today, and it was the pivotal scene that kicks of the rest of the book. I cranked out all those words in about 45 minutes. I love when the words start flowing. I think I might actually have to cut some of it. Usually my problem is that I’m too succinct, and I need to go back and add layers and get my word count up. This still needs layers,, but it needs to be pared down. Still, I think I got a pretty good first layer put down. It was a good day.
I did some plotting today and wrote 1200 words. It’s been slow-going, because I’ve been trying to figure out how to get to that first scene I saw in my head when this story came to me. That scene is so vivid, it’s blinding. It was the catalyst for this whole story, and once it happens, the story will take off. But getting there? Ack. That’s been difficult. I need to set everything up and make sure the characters are ready for what’s about to happen. I think they will be, because that’s where their relationship truly starts. And that’s when the writing will get fun. 🙂
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.