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.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Yesterday, worked on the first scene of chapter 11, trying to reorganize and reslant it to fit its new place in the book. Today I was stuck in a doctor's waiting room for an hour, and used the time to make (more) notes about the rest of chapter 11 and all of chapter 12.

My notes for chapter 12 indicate that it's going to be boring plotwise. Since it's also coming right after another chapter that's boring plotwise, I am actively, mindfully fighting my urge to complacently tell myself it's not really going to be boring plotwise, it's just going to be internal conflict rather than external. I've worked too hard on this ms to start falling into self-indulgence by telling myself fairy tales about how the reader might be on the edge of his/her seat, eagerly turning pages to find out if character X got the hearth cleaned up, or if character Y got that sticker out of his foot.

So I was trying to think of ways to pump up chapter 12 a little, keep the tension from sagging too much. I came up with a few little things that might help, but I won't know if they're really going to work until I try them. They're small in-scene references to some of the plot threads that I've left hanging; I hope they'll indicate that the MC is still worrying about them and remind the reader to worry about them, too. Also I think I'm going to try inserting a scenelet where the MC sees two of the guys he wants to kill, and he has a clear shot at them, but he hesitates for various reasons and loses the opportunity. I like the idea of this because later those two guys are going to poke character Y's eye out, and I think the reader will be even more upset knowing that it could have been prevented if the MC had acted in this earlier scene.

Like I said, there's no way to tell if any of this will work until I try it. It's mostly an experiment, and I'm interested to see what happens.

One big problem that has been nagging and nagging and nagging at me is that the book needs a scene where my MC and the main secondary character clearly bond--where the reader totally gets the fact that the secondary character is important to the well-being of my MC, even though he (the secondary character) appears to be expendable.* I have not yet figured out what that scene needs to be. I do have a scene very late in the book where the secondary character assures the MC of something my MC desperately needs to hear. I don't know if that will work as the point I need to make, and I also wonder if it's too late in the story to do that job properly. So I guess I'm writing this down right now to make sure the back of my mind knows about the problem, and is working on it.

*Quick mini-advisorish-explanation: the reason this scene is needed is that a book's character/thematic story--the thing that gives it depth--is like an arc where the character starts off one way, and then scene by scene over the course of the book is driven to change, and then, by the end of the book, is able to do/understand/acknowledge something he wouldn't have been able to do/understand/acknowledge at the beginning. Most of the scenes in the book will establish a clear point about, or make a clear step along, that arc. In my ms, the main secondary character is the catalyst for change in my MC's life. He's the reason my MC starts seeing things a little differently and is able to choose differently at the end of the book. In order for the end of the book to be satisfying, I need a scene where the reader strongly "gets" that this secondary character is providing a new way of thinking or of seeing things for my MC. If I don't have that, the book will be flat.

Blah blah blah. Sometimes I get sick of the sound of my own voice.