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Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!

Last week, I started my plan to add two new chapters to Vivian’s Last Cigarette. These are going in-between the reworked chapters one and two from the prior drafts, with the goal being for them to fill-in some character development gaps and smooth the abrupt start of the story as it stands now.

I got two-thousand words into writing the first new chapter last weekend. This Sunday I finished it, and started the new third chapter thereafter. It was an unusual start for the next part of the book, largely because I hadn’t realized I’d begun it…

Let me back up a bit.

The new material I’m writing seems to be hitting its stride right off the bat. I’ve gotten Viv and Gronk into a creepy, old, wet and drippy abandoned mill. They’re bantering, and between arguing they even overcome a couple of challenges together. The new second chapter hinges on a scene that starts tense, gets tenser, and then collapses into a comedy of errors that ends up working out for the best.

I got some really good laughs writing all that. And amid the laughter, I even managed to plant an emotional seed between the protagonists that will strengthen a critical scene that’s coming right up. All of that is great, but it also leads up to me saying:

Alright… the real thing that happened at this point is that I’d reached where I could start unleashing this important scene in the story. It’s something that’s really needed to cement a change and turning point for the characters. It’s a major reason why I’m adding these chapters in the first place. And I was happy with how I got there.

And by the time I got through all the buildup and fun, it had taken 4,000 words…

There I was, about five hundred words into launching this scene, and I’m looking at the word-count and thinking: If I squeeze all of this into one chapter, it’s going to crazy long! I’m talking longest-chapter-in-the-book and twice-the-length-of-the-chapter-preceding-it long.

I really didn’t want to go from adding two new chapters to adding three, but in analyzing the situation it was the only good option. So, I sat down and expanded on my ideas, plotting the second half into a chapter in its own right.

And that’s how I started the new chapter three. ;-)

This will give me more room to execute that critical scene too. I’m already excited about having more space to pull that off, and I’ve plotted a few additions to make it more memorable.

In writing chapter two, it certainly had tension and stakes, but not of the life and death variety… Resolving its major crux was done mostly with comedic effect. In comparison, chapter three does have life and death stakes that come into play. This shift in tone is shown to the reader suddenly, and at the very end of chapter two. But although the reader knows, Viv and Gronk remain unaware of the impending danger they’re in. Yes indeed, it ends on a cliffhanger.

That’s not to say there aren’t humorous gags in the next bit, because there certainly are. But the chapter’s main focus will be on action and suspense as the protagonists try to get themselves out of a deathtrap situation. Having more elbow room to write that seems like a good deal to me.

All of this also made me take a realistic look at what I have planned for after this new chapter thee, and I’ve decided to make a change there too.

Basically, there are two more major scenes I feel need to be added to segue and connect the newly expanded narrative into the latter chapters I’ve already written. Initially, I thought I could accomplish these in a single chapter. But a more grounded assessment makes that look like a pipe dream. I was already semi-dubious before that I’d be able to cover all the ground I need to in one chapter. After my experience on Sunday, I decided to bite the bullet and plan to do things right from the start.

With that in mind, I’ve proactively split my remaining ideas for the two major scenes into two chapters of allotted space. This means I’m now adding a total of four new chapters of material instead of the original pair I’d planned. On the downside, that’s more new material to write than I had expected. However, the writing is going faster than expected as well, so it’s hard to say how the timetable will be affected.

Even if the new material adds 30,000 words –an amount that I speculate is unlikely— the book would only barely surpass a word-count of 100,000. That’s still in an average range for a novel, in general, and perhaps a little on the lean side for one in the fantasy genre. It’s not something I’m worried about. These new chapters are fun: They’re exciting reading that is going to add a lot to the novel. :-)

Alright, time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some more fiction! Take care!

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