The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I took the title off my ms and where it was, I put:


I feel unfocused and at a loss again, not knowing how to begin digging in today. So it's back to printing out. From the beginning; Chapters 1-5.

While I was printing, I was thinking that one thing I need to consider is chapter breaks. This is a transitional work for me ("transitional"--big word that makes me sound like a struggling arteeste rather than a loser who hasn't got a clue and should be getting a real job) and that the chapter breaks definitely reveal where I'm casting about. Some of them are artificial plot breaks, cut at moments of high tension where something is about to happen. But usually when I write I construct whole scenes (usually single chapters) that end on an emotional hook, not a physical one. I'm used to working through chapters/scenes from a completely different angle.

When I was a kid, some of my favorite books were the Happy Hollisters. Every chapter in those books ended on some kind of plotting hook like somebody falling out of a boat or the bully gripping our hero Pete Hollister's collar in his sweaty fist and drawing back for a punch. My youngest son (a non-reader) went into a Anthony Horowitz/Alex Rider zone this summer, and I think the pacing and hooks had a lot to do with that. Although all the chapters in Horowitz don't end with in-your-face plot hooks, many of them do: the tiger is in midleap toward Alex's head; the helicopter's engine is cut and it's spiraling out of control (okay, I made that second one up, but only as far as I know because I haven't read all the Alex Rider books).

So I had all these plot hooks for chapter breaks in my ms. But now I'm trying to move the ms slowly to where it's more of a hybrid of what I usually do (character) and the plot stuff, and I think maybe some of these chapter breaks are getting in my way now, messing with my head--preventing me from seeing scene in terms of character growth the way I usually do. I really like some of the hooks, but with others rethinking might help me get a grip.

Or not.

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