Monday, July 25

A first novel: Chapters

I have divided my novel into chapters. Its one-hundred and sixty-seven pages are now portioned between eighty-two chapters. They have no clever names, just numbers. The shortest are a few small paragraphs. The longest span three or four pages.

I do not know yet if I will keep them. It was not my intention at the beginning to divide it so. I wanted the novel to be a seamless whole and not in discrete, defined chunks.

I did it because I was struggling in my revisions. My thought before was to keep going through the whole again and again, adding scenes and developing the characters at first and later eliminating them down to only what is necessary. That did not work out so well. I would push through as many words as I could in a morning and write and revise until I burned myself out for the day. The trouble was that I was still a little burned out the next day, and it only accumulated. The chapters allow me to pace myself and focus my writing. Now I work every day only on a defined section of the novel, never more than a single scene, and focus just on making it the best it can be now. I’m feeling good about this.

With eighty-two chapters and assuming I hold to my goal of working on a single chapter every day, my goal of having a draft ready for the thoughts and reactions of friends by the beginning of November remains intact.

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