Thursday, January 10, 2008

Since the butterfly flapped its wings

About an hour of work this morning and I finished my first read through and fussing with Chapter 4 and have notes on what I need to work. It needs some thought about character and motivation and then some development based on that, but not so much I hope as in other chapters so I should get through it fairly quickly if I can devote attention to it. I'm coming to my desk in the morning squeezed on the front end by fatigue and lack of sleep and squeezed on the back end by a sense of urgency about other work and home responsibilities, so I'm not putting my best energy into this right now.

What I'm really struggling with is the pace of plot and character development and how that necessarily changes as a result of how previous chapters have been rewritten. I feel like I've done everything meaningful that Chapter 5 is currently designed to do, so I'm worried Chapter 5 is going to feel repetitive. The obvious solution is to cut it. But something is telling me that's too drastic and I need to make it work in there--that if it weren't there things would be sped up too much.

I guess another way to put it is if you can imagine that a one-pound bucket of stuff needs to be established in a given chapter, since I started my rewrite about 3/4 of a pound of the stuff from Chapter 5 has been established earlier. That still leaves 1/4 pound of important stuff to justify Chapter 5, but it would be a pretty thin chapter and sound largely repetitive.

The real solution I suspect--and it's intimidating to think about--is to adjust my thinking away from "what needs to happen" to "what would happen." In other words, stop trying to make the story serve my plan for getting it done and instead focus on bringing out the fullness of the story that isn't there yet. That might mean keeping the episode in Chapter 5 as platform and rewriting it from scratch based on a new understanding of what the characters have gone through in the meantime. That is a ton of new and intense work. I don't mind doing it--I just regret how long it will take.

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