Friday, May 6, 2011

May 6th

Hello, my bloggy friends.

I apologize; all my writing energy is going elsewhere and all I have at the moment is black and white narrative. I am going to do nothing more than talk (read: complain) about the mechanics of writing. Forewarned is forearmed.

I have been putting in chapters. They average about ten pages each. I think that's too small.

Chapter breaks are really annoying. They are as annoying as bed bugs or mosquitoes or that rattle somewhere in your dashboard that doesn't go away.

So, I may go back and rewrite them into fifteen pages. Though I've been reading other people's books and one of them did also have ten page chapters.

It doesn't matter. For fiction, the standards for chapter length are non existent. It could be anything I wanted it to be.

So my creative side is at war with my need for symmetry.

Then there's the whole suspense vs. natural break thing. Either you can break the story at a cliff hanger, or the least natural place to break the story and frustrate your reader into turning the page, or you can break the story at the place where it lies down to rest a moment before going on to the next thing, which causes your reader to put the book down, turn out the light, and go to sleep.

Then, there are the section lengths. Part one is what it is. I can't change it; it has become like a legend. My characters hark back to the strange and breathless way in which they fell in love frequently throughout the rest of the story, as a way to ground themselves when things get strange. I can't expand it by slowing down their courtship, besides, then the story loses a huge, quirky piece of what makes it unique.

So I can't undo that.

Part 2 is much, much longer, though not any more detailed or nuanced. It's just longer and the story builds very nicely all through it. It's a very good section. But of course, I put a great deal of time and thought into layering it up into what it is.

Part 3, that I only recently concluded, has a lot more work needed. But, after all, that is the part that sat around, interrupted by the move. I haven't even read it all the way from beginning to end once yet. Poor neglected thing. I'm almost there.

Part 4 is in shambles. The Epilogue does not yet exist.

So, here's the stats:

Prologue: 6 pages

Part I: Spring, New England: 61 pages

Part II: Thirn Ei Rua: 87 pages

Part II: Oth Nara: 86 pages

Part IV: Autumn, New England: ? pages

Epilogue: (If I have one) ? pages

So, if I keep section four to about sixty pages, I should be good. It's ridiculous to want to keep things symmetrical. It's a completely unnecessary waste of my time, but I can't help myself.

Not to mention the fact that some publishers and agents specifically request no chapter breaks in submitted manuals. But I figure I can do all this, and save this copy and then save another copy without them. That way, at least I have a general idea of how the story is laid out.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing with myself lately; rereading the entire story, as it stands. I have completed the massive piece of rewriting that had been sitting in my head like blinker. I wrote in two scenes that I've long known were necessary in Thirn Ei Rua.

I'm almost to the end of Oth Nara, and already put in several things that I realized it needed as I read through it.

All the while, I put in chapter breaks and keep track of their length. I have a little note paper beside me, with columns of messy figures in black ink. There are twenty five chapters already. I think that's just too many chapters.

I really think I'm going to go back and redo the entire thing; make all the chapters average out to fifteen pages. A lot of the books I looked at had chapters that were between fourteen and eighteen pages long.

Lastly, what the hell am I going to call it? I've saved the file name under "Old New England." But that was from over ten years ago, when it was just five pages long and it doesn't make sense any more. I have a while yet before I have to know what to call it, so I'm not too worried. But the fact of the matter is, I have absolutely no idea. Just a complete blank.

I finish each day just exhausted. It is very hard mental work. But so intoxicating; I can't stop. I have to force myself to get off the computer and do things like vacuum or wash dishes or make the bed. Or eat, for that matter.