Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In the Weeds

I have started Chapter 11 two times. Today, I realized I have to start it again. Maybe the third time will be the charm.

Despite starting it twice, and producing quite a lot of words, especially the second time, I realize I have been avoiding Chapter 11 like a friend I have have wronged in some obscure way and am afraid to apologize to, for fear of making it worse. I keep slinking away from Chapter 11 and finding other important things to do, like cleaning the kitchen countertops. This sense of avoidance, dull resentment and boredom regarding TJAP is something I have not faced in months, not since I was first trying to imagine Rachel and Liam's first days in 1815 and finding it very uphill work.

What's going on? It's not just that the writing is bad, is just pointing to where I want to instead of actually going there, because that has been true the whole time and I have not allowed to stop me. First drafts are about getting there, not getting there in style.

Chapter 11 is some way is the gate, the hinge that has to open into the rest of the story. Chapter 11 is where Rachel and Liam meet a bunch of other Austens: James, Cassandra, Edward and Fanny (they are actually surnamed Knight, but never mind). Compared to Henry (who likes everyone) and Jane (who is at least interested in everyone) they are a tough crowd. They have each other, they have strength in numbers, and they find something a little not-quite-the-thing about our time travelers.

Yes. There needs to be more conflict; I think this is the problem with Chapter 11 as currently written. But what is the heart of the conflict?

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