Friday, November 03, 2006

When Bad Chapters Happen to Good Writers...

Not that I'm saying I'm a good writer...but I had a most frustrating experience the other night. I have been busily writing on my WIP. I'm on chapter 27 and sucked so bad I could have used it for a vacuum cleaner. It seems as if some chapters come so easily, effortlessly. The flow and plot and characters are all doing what they need to be doing and the world is a beautiful place. Same writer, same story, but suddenly it's weak and stiff and wooden. Why?

I'm a plotter. A very loose one, but a plotter all the same. So I have certain expectations going in that sometimes don't always come to fruition. Something wonderfully unexpected will happen and I'll decide that new path may be a better, more exciting one, and still incorporate the essence of the planned scene into the new one. Why then do I find myself with a bunch of characters that act as if they don't know their lines, or have stage fright. Why does one day my prose sound as if it was tuned like a fine instrument, and others as if I had never heard of characterization, setting, or plot.

The long and short of this is that I have chapter 27 that does absolutely nothing. That I spent a day and a half writing, and will never use. Perhaps some of the conversations will show up in the new 27, but I'm scrapping it.

Ever finished writing a chapter or two only to realize you hated it? Or do you usually catch that while it's happening?


1 comment:

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Oh, Kat! Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

I can't explain it either. Sometimes the words just seem to appear and I read them later and I go, "Damn! I'm not bad at this writing stuff!" And other times...oy!

When the crap-o-meter goes off the scale, I can usually assume that the reason is, I'm trying to make the characters do something they don't want to do. Sometimes it's setting [What are we doing HERE? Shouldn't we be having this conversation somewhere else?] Sometimes it's mood. [The hero's in the mood, of course, and the heroine is not] or most often I've got them chit-chatting and saying things that aren't important just to give them a reason to talk.

I either trash the scene and try to come at it from a totally different direction, or I move on to the next scene with plans to edit the heck out of the bad stuff until the crap-alarm stops rining.