Redrafting the dreaded chapter 17

Chapters 16 and 17 have been the hardest chapters of the entire book. The climax begins in chapter 16 and extends through 17, so this section is kind of important because I have to keep the tension high and make sure I’ve pulled in all the pieces that need to be resolved. These two chapters have also been challenging – particularly chapter 16 – because there’s a lot of choreography, and I have to keep track of all the logistics (who is standing where? which hand is that thing in? etc.).

I completely rewrote chapter 16 a little while ago, but had put off facing 17. After making an editing pass through the entire novel I felt ready to tackle 17.

I rewrote most of the first scene, then threw out almost everything from the second scene and wrote it from scratch. I still have a few more paragraphs to write, then I’ll work on the final scene, so I’m not out of the woods yet – but I’m a lot happier with this chapter now.

One of the most important changes was that I redid the second scene to be from a different character’s point of view. I’m really glad I did!

A year or two ago I heard a bit of writing advice that sounds obvious, but it’s the kind of thing you don’t really think of until you’re aware of it. It was: the viewpoint character should be the character that has the most at stake. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but now when I feel that a scene isn’t quite right I take a step back and consider whether or not I’m telling it from the right character’s point of view. Sometimes – like with this particular scene – just changing the viewpoint character turns a scene that was just okay into something much more engaging. I’m very happy with this change – it totally transformed that scene.

You may be thinking: this is all great, but wasn’t your novel supposed to go to the editor on July 6th? Why, yes…yes it was! Fortunately DeAnna Knippling, my wonderful editor, allowed me to push the date back to August 1st.

I spent way, way, way more time curating the Fantasy in the city bundle than I’d anticipated, and that cut into my novel-writing time. The next time I curate a bundle I’ll have a better feel for how much work it will entail, and I’ll be able to schedule around it.

Which is a very good thing, because I’m putting together another short story bundle! 🙂 This one won’t launch until October, but I’ve already put together a schedule for the different pieces I need to put together (images, sales copy, etc.), so it will go a lot more smoothly.

2016-07-07 Dakota Ridge

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