Chapter 10 is a strange one.
I often find that when I’m writing a chapter based on ‘the plan’ the amount of story that I have allotted for that chapter spills out into others.
For example, a few chapters back I had an important conversation planned between Crystal and her aunts. It is a vital scene and it ended up being a very long conversation… In fact, I think it ended up taking almost an entire chapter.
That sounds like a lot but remember this is a children’s book.
I love that conversation. The characters really found their voices. And for that reason it stands alone from the other narrative that I had planned to accompany it. The same thing has happened here.
When I restructured the chapters to allow the Hobbit-type-hole to be relocated, ‘the plan’ has morphed with it, and consequently Chapter 9 did not include the meeting with the Lord of The Wood, as intended.
The Lord of The Wood has become a chapter in itself; he says before having actually written it.
It’s going to be an important chapter that really gives Crystal her driving force for the rest of the novel. Which is why I am going to give it the proper amount of words and time to do it justice.
I am looking forward to writing for the Lord, although I am unsure of his voice yet. I find it helps me as a writer to hear a voice in my head that reminds me of that character. I’m thinking a gravelly Ian McKellen… I’m also unsure if he is Welsh…
This sounds strange but the novel is set in Wales and has a Welsh flavour about it, but these magical/mythical characters trouble me; would they sound Welsh? Or is it a safer bet to assume they would sound like Ian McKellen? More British and expected, I suppose. I know it sounds strange but if he is Welsh, his speech patterns would be entirely different to that of an RP-English-Posh man. I always assumed he’d have that sort of voice…
At this point, my plan is to also include the conversation with her aunts (that I cut from the start of Chapter 9) at the end of this chapter. In fact I think it will be better there.
I’ve come to the late confusion that sometimes writing conversations between characters is easy; writing silence between them is much more interesting and difficult. When Crystal returns from quite a traumatic night in the woods where she has been utterly changed as a person and has been given a quest and a purpose, the last thing she would want to do is have a domestic with her aunts; despite the fact that they’ve been up all night worrying about her. So I think a short scene with less talking is right for them. I like that idea.
I am concerned though of the chapter after this…
It is mainly due to the restructure. After the chapters in the forest, Crystal has a purpose. And the next time that she acts on this purpose is half-term holidays. I have to move the narrative through 4 weeks of school and home life to get to the next important plot point.
Having said that, those 4 weeks could be a missed opportunity for some great character moments.
I guess what I’m having trouble deciding is whether to indulge myself in writing those character moments, or whether to just get on with the story. It would probably be the opinion of a copy-editor to just skip it; if it doesn’t move the story forwards…
Perhaps I am missing something in those 4 weeks that will move the story forwards…
Something I haven’t thought of yet…
This is a typical writer’s problem. I’ve got a document open in front of me entitled ‘The Lord of The Wood’ and I’m worrying about the chapter after that! I have enough worries about this chapter, let a lone the next one!!
But I can’t help myself. It has to be right. I have to know EXACTLY where I’m going to write where I am.
In fact, sometimes it’s worse having a plan for a chapter because it seems less interesting, less spontaneous, less exciting! There is something to be said about making a story up as you go along… Although can you imagine that!? Just jumping into a story with no plan? I don’t think I could do it…
Sometimes it’s easy for the author to think and feel that the book that is planned (which for me is in a notebook) is old and stale and is just not worthy of bringing to life. But the life-giving part is so reassuring and reaffirming that all you are doing, all that I am doing, will be worth it.
More self doubt; great.
I think the right thing to do for the narrative is just jump ahead 4 weeks. But I think the right thing to do for the characters is to experience some of those 4 weeks with them.
This might be a fantastic opportunity for me to create a new part of the story that until now I didn’t know that I needed. It may end up being brilliant! Utterly unthinkable to not have it in there! It might feel like I’ve lost the plot; literally.
I sort of want to spend a little time with a notebook scribbling away things that might happen in those 4 weeks, to see if there’s a story there.
I don’t think I’ll be able to write Chapter 10 with this on my mind.
And sometimes allowing yourself to be creating again, rather than just following your own instruction, will liberate you and inject much needed enthusiasm back into what you’re writing.
The Lord of The Wood deserves my enthusiasm.