Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lesson Learned

As I cheered for all of you to keep writing I stopped writing. In the past two days I have written a total of 26 words. I could equate it to many things. It hasn't exactly been the best last few days, but my mind has finally cleared and I sat down in front of my computer, just like I have been doing for the past two days, and finally it clicked.

I was working on a chapter that had a lot happen within a page or two and I had no idea where to go from there. I knew where I wanted to go after that chapter, but that chapter I was blank. The chapter was only five pages long and I kept thinking it needs more. Once I came back to it with a clear head I realized, no it doesn't need more. It needed a sentence to wrap it up and that was it. You don't need to add unnecessary words to a chapter just to make it longer. Once you get to the point you are trying to make, wrap it up. There is no need to drag it out. Lesson learned. Besides when I go back to revise if something needs to be added I can do it then.

Have any of you had this problem? Stressing out over what a chapter needs only to realize it's fine the way it is and you just need to move on to the next?

Now back to it. Happy Writing.


  1. I did have that problem! Very recently actually. Then I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Laini Taylor has a number of chapters that are one page. That's it. And it was so refreshingly different.

    The whole book was refreshingly different.

    So now, I'm like you, I don't think about how long a chapter is. If it's done. It's done :)

  2. Forward progress is still progress! Don't worry about word count or how long a chapter is. Let your story speak for itself. Trust your gut!

  3. OMG yes! I actually have been running into this issue during the revision process. My current CH 9 has been a huge pain in my side! But, I've finally gotten through the biggest headache of that chapter and have finally moved on. I think I kept imagining this great new addition, or something more magical. But this chapter is the way it's supposed to be.

  4. Yes, I agree. Trust your gut, but I have stared and wondered why I can't move forward only to find out the story is fine.

  5. I used to obsess over chapter lengths. No more. I was boosting my word count for no reason. My latest wip has several short chapters, and I'm okay with it.

  6. So happy to know that I am not alone on this one. Thanks for commenting.

    Kelley: I have to check out Smoke and Bone I've been hearing amazing things about it.

    E.R: I really do have to rust my gut more often. Great advice. Thanks :)

    Stacey: That's my problem exactly. The image that you get in your head of how much greater it could be when in reality it is perfect the way it is.

    Ladonna: Exactly! Even when I try to trust my gut my mind starts going into overdrive and overrides my gut instinct. But in the end my gut was always right.

    Medeia: After I wrote this I went back to my WIP and it now has 2 short chapters and like you I'm okay with that :)

  7. Personally, I've been trying to convince myself that I don't really want to cut out a good 20,000 words from my NaNo novel before December 1st. I just don't think they're good enough as is and it feels like cheating to leave them in.

  8. M.J.: That's a hard one and I can see exactly where you are coming from. For NaNo you're supposed to write and just keep going, but when it doesn't feel right it makes it hard. Then again they say the goal is just to get 50,000 words down whether they are amazing or garbage.

    The only thing I would do is highlight the areas you aren't happy with and keep writing. Then on December 1st go back and see if you can salvage any of it or if you still feel like it needs to be deleted. There have been times where I have deleted paragraphs then realized they would have fit better somewhere else in the piece. So now I always save the parts I delete in another document just in case. You never know.

    Good Luck. I'd love to hear what you finally decide to do.