Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Time to go back to the beginning

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I’ve finished editing Chapter 18. I typed in the suggested changes I’d made on paper and added more thoughts as I read. On re-reading there were still more thoughts and a realisation that the story peters out to nothing. The chapter is now fatter and fuller but needs more work. Having read, re-read and re-worked, it is time to leave it alone. The changes need to prove; my brain needs to cogitate for a while to see what comes to me over the next couple of days. Then it will be time to re-visit in order to add, cut and re-order all over again.

As the reader knows at the outset what the end of the book will be (Pippa’s death), I am still dithering about whether or not to move Chapter 18 (the day of her funeral) to the beginning. Currently, there is sense of inevitability about what the last chapter contains and how it ends. The characters are full of emotion, and it might be better to present this at the outset and then show where it came from rather than to try to build to it. Once I have the second draft printed I will juggle the chapters about and see which works best.

Moving the last chapter to the start will result in the book, as it stands, drifting away to the finish with a flurry of Pippa’s emails. This is an even poorer way to end and I will need to work on a new last chapter, the topic and tenor of which currently eludes me. Or I could open the book with a section cut from Chapter 18 and leave the remainder where it is?

On a positive note, the word count has increased by 17000 words since the first draft so I can unpack the pruning knife and trim as I go.


Written by Sarah Ann

May 14, 2012 at 12:25 pm

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