Two days ago, I reached the “70,000 words” goal writing my novel, and I felt deeply accomplished, mainly since I am closer and closer every day to reach the end of my first draft. I know there is lots of work still to do, because the first draft is almost nothing by itself. Moreover, I have already spootted some deep mistakes/problems within that first draft that I must rewrite and correct before moving on any later stage of the writing and editing situation.
BUT, I don’t feel overwhelmed or unmotivated at all, I just want to write.
However, I found something really awkward when I reached that goal, which made me think about this whole process. Let me explain it to you:
Currently, I am writing “Chapter 15” and I know it may vary, but, at least, today it is Chapter 15. I checked the previous chapter, #14, just to be sure about some aspects and key elements of that chapter to move on the following one. Just to clarify this for you, “Chapter 14” is really, REALLY important because of what happens on it, not only for this very particular novel, but for the whole trilogy. After reassuring those ideas from that chapter, I moved on continuing with #15, which I had written down about half of it at that particular moment. And I noticed what is important for this post: I had written down around 10 pages of Chapter 15 and, as I have just said, it was written up to the middle of its length (approximately). Until that point, Chapter 15 was just some calm scenes, introducing some new characters but the reality is that there wasn’t happening anything properly vital for the plot of the book, I was just “rambling” about mundane things. This, of course, is not a problem by itself but, the problem is this: Chapter 14, a really important one, was the same length than half of the Chapter 15.
Just to clarify something, I DON’T think every chapter should have the same number of pages, not even the same amount of words, paragraphs or any other grammatical/stylish structure. I DO think every chapter should have its own identity, length, mini story to tell, so every chapter MUST be different.
And, of course, this is the first draft, maybe the day that I was writing that Chapter 14 I had less literary recourses or stamina or predisposition to write a long, intrincate, labyrinthine chapter that I could have, for example, writing Chapter 15. I can add whatever I want on following editings of this very first draft. I know all of these.
But, even thinking this, it is pretty much interesting, if not weird, to see a “vital” chapter being half the length of a “mundane” chapter. I was totally committed with Chapter 14 when I was writing it. I had lots and lots of ideas, approaches, guidelines and so on and so forth to write it down. I even have planned that very Chapter in my mind, step by step, on days prior to the writing process. I was prepared for it. In contrast, Chapter 15 was kind of “in my mind” (and by “mind” I mean “outline”), but I just let it be, I wrote what I wanted to and I didn’t really committed that much to the Chapter itself as I did to #14. I don’t think Chapter 15 is rubbish, not at all, but I am just saying it was OK in terms of First Draft. Chapter 14, in comparison, is a much better chapter from scratch.
Why did this happen? What is a fail in the outline? Did I miss something terribly important on Chapter 14? Did I, for some unknown reason, enjoy Chapter 15 more, which is OK, than Chapter 14, that is supposed to be awesome? Did I rush the action just to get to the end? Do I have some kind of fear about writing amazing Chapters, maybe because of its importance in the plot? Have I some kind of fear of awesomeness?
I don’t really know about anything of these, but I am sure I am NOT letting it take control of my writing. I want to write awesome scenes, create a really epic world for the reader to enjoy, so I have to fight against it, whatever that “it” is.
Have this ever happened to you? If so, why do you think it occurs? How have you overcome it? Any suggestions or ideas?