Friday, September 30, 2011

Dear Chapter Two

Dear Chapter Two [of the WIP],

So, listen...I'm going to get straight to the point. What is up with you, Chapter Two? There I was, bumbling along through my first draft. I hit you and all seemed fine. Then I hit the middle of you and...that's it. Standstill. Road block. Possibly even dead end?

I don't know if you know this, Chapter Two, but two is a really low number. I think you'd be hard pressed to find a novel that ends on Chapter Two. Much less the middle of Chapter Two. I'm not saying you and I couldn't be post-post-post-modernist pioneers together but, I don't know, let's just go over this rationally, okay?

See, the thing is, there are things that need to happen in Chapters Four, Ten and Twelve. Things that I'm pretty excited about writing. Things that--if you really thought about it--I'm sure you'd be excited to help set up. But there's this whole "all-those-numbers-come-after-two" thing that we need to consider. I don't think an editor or the world at large will really budge on that.

I can guess what you're thinking. Maybe you're tired of being the number two. I mean, everyone loved you on Card Sharks, but was it just an empty, shallow kind of love? Did you feel used? Or maybe you're tired of all the celebrity. Starring in all those songs and the titles of Olsen Twin movies. It's understandable, Two. Anyone would be exhausted.

Let's just do this gently. You help me out this weekend and then I'll leave you alone for a good long while. I'll move on to Chapter Three. I promise not to dwell on making you perfect or, even, good. I will totally settle for simply "finished."


Your friend,


  1. Maybe the slight is coming from 'Look Who's Talking Too?' A cute play on words, yes, but there was no need to deprive the number of its proper place in that amazing series.

  2. What's holding you back? Usually when I get stuck (even 16 chapters in) it's because something is troubling me, something isn't working. It might be better to go back and highlight what doesn't feel GREAT... and figure out why.

    With one novel, I had to start over twice because of deep issues within the novel... each time I got stuck first (and FRUSTRATED!!!), only to go back and discover that my problem was a root problem, and had to be fixed from the beginning. (In one rewrite, I changed the POV, in another, I changed the main character completely.)

    Good luck! I hope the writing goes smoothly soon!

  3. That is an excellent point, Shakespeare. In my case, I usually need to pummel through, get the first draft down on paper and then go fix (read: re-write) everything. In this particular ms, I think the problem has more to do with me taking an extended writing break, too. I'm rusty.