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This idea I had for chapter structure October 6, 2006

Posted by jeanne in Author's Note, Blog project, construction news, Creative Writing, original fiction, synopsis.
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I had started out with 27 chapters, and paled at the thought. So I revised my outline until I had 12 chapters, and felt proud of myself.

I waas aware that each chapter might expand outward a little to encompass all I had to get said. However, it’s been months since I’ve posted a chapter, and I’m getting very tired of still working thru chapter four, six to eight hours a day. Okay, two to eight. Two to six

I think I need to go back to smaller chapters, because the amount of work involved just flling in the outline is staggering. Weeks of elaborating and weeks more to go before you can look at the written out mass of ideas and things that have to happen. and when you do, it doesn’t flow together and it’s stilted and obvious, self conscious and hiding.

If I were writing shorter chapters, this process would be reduced to about a week.  About a week’s work writing, editing and polishing about 15 pages. I’m sitting here, finally having filled in all the gaps, and with all that polishing and editing still to be done, and looking at 50 pages of the same dense prose. I feel like the stuck writer in Wonderboys.

So since I find I have to break up the chapter as I have written it, because its too damn ed long I might as well go back to shorter chapters. I’ll decide later and post any revisions.

I’m not going to be posting much in the next few weeks. I’ve got houseguests, and I still have to finish the current chapter, and won’t have time.  So please be happy with the daily report on the construction process. Soon I intend to illustrate these construction posts with photos.

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Comments»

1. Jack Payne - July 31, 2007

I wouldn’t be at all concerned about chapter-lengths, or number of chapters. I’ve always found that the chapter breaks fall naturally, when you have run-away ideas. Consequently, over my writing career–55 business books–I always followed the simple policy: just let ‘er rip. All of my book have chaper lengths of anywhere from 5 pages to 30. And, number of chapters go from 4 to 24. Even when I got to my first novel, Six Hours Past Thursday, same thing. I just let pacing hold sway and let unwinding of the plot dictate the roll of the story.

–Jack Payne


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