Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Slogging through it.

I've been at my desk, working on the first chapter, for over 2 hours now, and I don't have much to show for it. I read over the first 5 pages (previously written) and felt good about them. Then I set about trying to finish out the chapter and practically hit a wall.

The book opens with Elspeth recieving a phone call from her fiance, telling her that he is calling off the wedding because he and her best friend have discovered they have feelings for each other. This is a big moment of transition in Elspeth's life, and it will set in motion a chain of events that leads to her eventually going to Scotland, traveling through time, and meeting Alec. I feel good with where I'm picking up the story, and I got good feedback to that effect from EE's minions when I submitted the (original) opening to his blog.

I follow her through the first evening (she drinks a bottle of wine and drifts around her apartment, starting things but not finishing them) and night (she wakes up from a foreshadowing dream and finally breaks down with the reality of her situation). The problem is the remainder of the weekend. I want to have her come to grips with the situation, if not accept it, and try to move forward with her life (school, especially) while still struggling with her dream being torn away from her.

Right now, it just feels like I'm "telling not showing" and boringly reciting a list of things she does over the course of a day or two. I'd love to jump to the beginning of the week and show her interacting with people at school. But I had hoped for that to be the next chapter, and currently Chapter One is only 6 pages (about 3,000 words) long. Is that long enough? 'Cause I could wrap it up with something like "...she really wasn't looking forward to facing everyone [on Monday/in the morning]." And then pick up Chapter Two on Monday morning.

Hmm...an old thread on the Forum discussed this. I'd hoped for word counts, but the general consensus (which I already knew) was that it's a natural thing. Diana even said she's had chapters as short as 5 pages. I'm just wondering if that's a problem with the first chapter. Oh, well. I guess I'd better not force it. Prolly tomorrow I'll go take out the boring stuff and just wrap up with a quick summary of the weekend. We'll see how it goes.

Gaidhlig Word of the Day: sgriobhadair. "Writer."


Jon said...

I like short chapters. Lots of 'em, and short. But that's me.

I think six pages is plenty, if it's all you need to/have to say. No reason belaboring a scene with more detail than necessary, right?

Cindy said...

My advice, FWIW, is leave it. If there's another answer, it likely won't come until you stop thinking about it. (G) That said, I understand your discomfort with it, because I have those conversations with myself all the time!