Chapter One, Part 2: The Re-Chaptering

Whoa! Rewriting does not suck as bad as I’d thought it would. Who knew?

Have no idea what I’m talking about? Lemme back it on up real quick for the folks playing catch-up (That word makes me think of ketchup. Or is it catsup? I vote the former). I mentioned in a previous blog post that I’m starting this whole novel thingy from scratch. Deciding to scrap the first draft was tough, but I’m 99% sure it’s going to pay off. Let’s just hope the 1% doesn’t come in and ruin it for me.

[insert rimshot punch line sound here]

My first draft had about a million little loose ends–stuff that made no kinds of sense to me. So I figured, “Hey, if something I wrote doesn’t jive with me, then what are the chance that someone else is going to be into it?”

“Not good,” I said in my best Gollum voice. “Not good at all, my love.”

Anyways, I’m on the second day of pounding away at this thing and I feel pretty okay with how things are panning out. When I thought about rewriting I didn’t plan on reworking the whole story, but as I got deeper into the process I started to figure out that I was going to have to make an entirely new story if I wanted to make the thing work. The characters are pretty much all the same–that is to say that they have the same motivations and such–but the way the plot plays out is quite a bit different. Looking at the first draft showed me that the scenarios I was putting them in were not dramatic enough. I needed to make them hurt, make them bleed a bit more. That might sound really weird, but in my brain-grapes it makes perfect sense.

So that’s where I’m at. I did a thousandish words today of chapter uno but I’m going to plug away at it some more this evening. When things go sideways (and they always do!) I’ll be sure to come on here and lay out my plan for getting through it.

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2 thoughts on “Chapter One, Part 2: The Re-Chaptering

  1. Drama will come when your characters are in conflict with each other, themselves or some other thing. The thing is to make it an honest conflict– something that would be true to who the characters are and the world they live in. You don’t want it too veer into the melodramatic. An intune reader will spot that in a second and suspend their disbelief. That perfect pitch between drama and conflict is hard to do. Most great writers have spent years thinking and rewriting a single novel trying to create that perfect balance. Pulp is easy to do, masterpieces tough work.

    • So true! Writing is tough work, no doubt. In my experience it doesn’t matter whether I’m trying to blow your mind with my “literary” chops or just trying to entertain somebody with a dip into “genre” fiction–telling a story is always just tough.

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