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Novel Progress: Part Two Finished

Today wasn't a writing day, but an editing day. Yesterday I finished the middle section of Part Two, but that meant that I needed to go through the later sections and make sure that they were now consistent with what I had written beforehand.

I finished that up this morning. The novel now has the following:

Part One: 183 pages, which is 6 chapters totaling 45.750 words.

Part Two: 225 pages, which is 5 chapters totaling 56, 250 words.

Total: 408 pages, 11 chapters, totaling 102,000 words.

Looking backward, there's a lot of work yet to do. First of all, the chapters in Part Two are rather long, as can be seen from the number of words. I might try to break the chapters up a bit more, perhaps making the 5 chapters into 6, so it parallels Part One.

There's also a lot of rewriting I have to do in Part One, because right now the plotting has become inconsistent within the draft. I don't want to go into too many details, but in Part One the protagonist has dinner with her parents, and at the end of Part Two her parents are put into jeopardy. Well, as I wrote the book I realized that she's too estranged from her parents for their capture to be meaningful, so the person put in jeopardy at the end of Part Two is now her mentor. That means I need to remove her parents from Part One and give her mentor more of a role.

But...I can do that later. The advice I've received from everyone -- books, other writers, my wife, and my agent -- is to plow forward and get the first draft done. So even though some of the scenes in Part Three will be inconsistent with the stuff that currently exists in Part One, I'll write them anyway. After all, this is the most exciting part, the part that my character's arc has built up to -- and I can't wait to see how she gets out of it.

(I apologize if you find this discussion of plot too vague, but the other advice I'm listening to is this: Never talk out your plot with people in advance, or you'll lose the impetus to write the book.)


Thank you!
Congratulations. I imagine breaking it into chunks gives you more a sense of satisfaction, of completing it in parts step-wise...?

Did you read Gary Westfahl's article on no plotting beforehand in Dick and Heinlein? Did you plot beforehand? Do you feel he's partly mistaken, that the problem probably lies? (I suspect he may have laid a finger on a problem, but not the solution.)
Breaking into chunks is the only way I can write anything. After all, it's easy to sit down and say that I'm going to write this scene today, or these pages. It's a lot harder to sit down and say I'm going to write a 500-page novel.

I haven't read Westfahl's article, although I've read other stuff he's written. Is ths article on the web, by any chance?

I almost always plot beforehand. Especially with a longer work. For the current novel, I wrote a 12-page outline and then another 12-page stepsheet. What I have found, though, is that as I write the book, I veer away from the outline somewhat. However, the spine of the story is still the same. I know who my protagonist is and how she changes by the end of the book. It's just that some of the details may differ from what I had originally imagined.
Here's the Westfahl commentary, basically disparaging present day plotting over the surprises that haphazard approach affords (I can well imagine that Van Vogt didn't always plot ahead, but I wonder if it's true for Heinlein and Dick):

Interesting article.

Van Vogt apparently had a policy of introducing a new concept every 800 words or so, to make his fiction as fast-paced and breathless as possible.
Whenever I talk about a song I'm writing, it never gets completely wrote.
Works of art are like that. I know some people who refuse to outline because they feel that it will sap them of the energy they need to write the story.
"There are two kinds of poems: the kind you write, and the kind you talk about in bars. Both are important, but it's fatal to confuse the two." - John Crowley

December 2016

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