I’m tilting at windmills here. I’m against chapters. I know you love ’em. Thus the tilting. Eventually we’ve got to make up tidy little chapters. But I’m against forming them too soon.
For me, the experience of writing a novel is a close-up encounter with packets of drama: scenes. Those of you who’ve been following this blog have heard me preach about writing in scenes. (Actions taking place in a specific time and place.) It helps you sustain narrative drive and reader interest.
So why are you writing in chapters?
It’s true that we end up writing in scenes anyway; everything happens in a specific time and place after all. You’re probably just chaining them together as you go: Chapter 6, with its three quick scenes. Then Chapter 7 with two . . .
Now here I am telling you to number each scene at the top of the page and do a hard return at the end of the scene. What difference does it make?
The mushy scene
Mush creeps in so easily. The protagonist sipping tea, walking up to the old house, all those finger-warm ups that are so useful when we sit down to write at 8 a.m., but which need to be cut later. Read More…