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Woe Am I: It's Chapter 7

I really, truly hate Chapter 7. In any book. Now don’t all run out and check Chapter 7 in my books, because whatever finally made it into that section of the final version was definitely not what was bedeviling me while I was writing.

Let me explain.

Every time I head toward Chapter 7, I start to get really anxious. I finally know my characters pretty well. Have a good handle on the story, plot and all, but I just sort of bump into this mental wall when it comes to that point in the story.

In every story I write.

I hit this empty spot where I want more from my characters than I’ve developed in the previous six chapters. I’ve done every sort of trick to avoid this problem, including not writing in chapters at all–just one long document, but the muses know where it is and they get all stoked that they can rain on my parade of words.

And rain down they do.

Usually what happens is that I realize that I need MORE before I can continue forward. More relationship, more interaction, more depth. And if I try to drive around the chapter and continue on, like it is an accident scene, I tend to rear end into Chapter 8 and that just makes the entire situation worse. But the muses are clever creatures and I’ve come to realize and believe and have complete faith that I have the story–all the pieces–if I dig around a bit. Which usually means a couple of days of pacing about, handwriting new scenes and digging around in the pages I do have for clues for what is missing.

This story faith comes courtesy of Linda Lael Miller who explained this theory to me years ago. You have the entire story when you get an idea, she said. You just have to be archeologist and dig it all up.

When I started digging, I realized my hero and heroine need to have kissed before he finds out she is engaged to another. I love the build up to a good kiss–I mean, who doesn’t?. Yeah! Take that Chapter 7. By the time I get this kiss all added in–where it fits perfectly in Chapter 2, isn’t that funny how that works?–then re paginate all the chapters, you’ll be history. Toast. Already completed and passed over for the truly fun scene in Chapter 8 at the park.

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