Chap book report

Hi everyone,

Since writing “Chapter One” and a first sentence, it has been an interesting few days. I settled into keeping the chapters short, ranging from 350 to 750 words each, and wrote the first five. I was pleased.

I revised those chapters until they seemed quite presentable. On to chapters six, seven, and eight. So far so good. The outline was working and my notes were there when I needed them.

Then I reread all eight chapters and the words “train wreck” came to mind. For one thing, I’m beginning to wonder if this is really a chap book at all. The subject may be a bit too complicated and mature for a traditional chapter book. And suddenly the beautiful beginning seemed out of place and out of context.

Parts of chapter eight did a better job of introducing the idea. But only parts of it. When I took what worked from that chapter, filled it out a bit more, and placed it in the beginning, the original chapter one didn’t work as a chapter two.

I felt like I was dismantling a train, pulling out box cars and rehooking them in different sections.

That activity is occupying my thoughts this week. There’s probably enough material in those early chapters. I just need to get them strung together in the best positions.

That’s my report.

One other thing. I’m loving the challenge.

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12 comments on “Chap book report

  1. So you went from a close-up to a panoramic view. And then discovered an epic in the making. Sounds like you’re switching back to the gems in Chapter one, which demoted to chapter two, in the train on the tracks rushing by in space and time and height and width and volume. Hello physics!

    • Maybe that’s what my pen is telling me, Jeanne. I used to be pretty fair at physics so perhaps it will all work out eventually.

  2. Sounds like fun! I love this part of it, fitting stuff in, taking stuff out. A suggestion? Leave it alone when it’s no longer fun. Let it play in the back of your mind while you do other stuff -walk to the pond, do some gardening, have a cocktail. Suddenly, something will click WHEN YOU ARE NOT THINKING ABOUT IT, You’ll rush back to the pages and it will come together. Sorry this post is so long. But this stage is important and wonderful, allowing your unconscious to run with it.

    • Pat, I agree completely. Since I posted this morning, a missing link popped up and I was able to stitch everything back together after making suitable transitions and subtle tweaking. I’m back in business!

  3. Hi David,
    I must have missed the previous post(s) about your chapbook project. Are you developing a collection of short, short stories? Or maybe mini chapters of a longer piece? I’ve challenged myself to put together a collection of my poems (chapbook) this year. Send them to friends and family to test their loyalty. There seems to be as many opinions about how to put together a chapbook as there are opinion writers. What do you use as a guide?
    Anyway, seems like it’s a great project. Raise a glass to its completion!

    • Gene, I mentioned the other day that kids have asked me during Q/A sessions if I’ve written any chapter books, and I haven’t. I finally decided to give it try and dipped into an old journal for an idea I had many years ago. I’m not sure that what I’m writing even is a chap book. It’s simply a story of some length and at this point I’m going along for the ride. I began as a story teller and this feels good even if it turns out to be an exercise. Either way I’ll accept your proposed toast when the time comes! Thanks.

  4. Thank you for posting your struggles, David (as I take a break from the very same problem to mosey on over to your blog)
    I loved the egg analogy, Cheryl!
    Ok – back I go, to see if the magic of posting a comment fixed that missing link 🙂

    • Hi Heather,
      Glad to provide a respite from your own struggles. This is one of the more demanding parts of writing longer work, but I haven’t found a better way yet. As for Cheryl, she’s not only wise but she’s a good egg.

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