Last night, this morning at the gym and during various downtimes of the day, I’ve been mulling over this particular scene that Just Wasn’t Working the way it needed to. It involves Xia giving Alexandrine a substance that affects people with magic. Originally, he did it to prove to her she has magic. But the new! Alexandrine already knows that. Obviously, that original scene needed a re-write. While notebooking at the gym, I settled on her taking the pill by accident. I recognized the idea was a wee bit lame, but I thought if I meditated on it some more, I’d see my way to the solution. I am not at my best at 5:00 a.m.
So I sat down to do the work this evening and I was in there with the machete getting things conformed etc and at last I get to the substance scene at the end of chapter 6. How is she going to take this pill?
She’s not. It turns out, as I was writing, that, as a former teen runaway (which was previously established) she had issues with drugs and does not take any drugs ever anymore. Color me surprised! But this revelation ended up being a major development in their relationship. Oh! Oh! I get it! Neat-o.
But now I had a chapter 7 of substance-induced events that needed a new home. And I knew the perfect place for it. Between chapters 13 and 14. The beginning of 14 got spliced onto the top of chapter 7 which was renumbered as Chapter 13 (with 8-13 becoming 7-12) Are you following me here? and then about-to-be 13 and 14 were temporarily combined so I could look for the best chapter ending. Found it. Chopped it. And Voila as they say in France. Chapters 7 and 14 were spliced and split and became 13 and 14. It’s a bit messy yet but tomorrow I will smooth that out into a scene that has my heroine who is afraid of backsliding on drugs facing the ABSOLUTE NECESSITY of taking a drug that humans with magic routinely abuse… See? Much more at stake.
It’s like that game Twister. Only with words and paragraphs and my characters and story instead of people.
This sounds like a horror show, I know. I suspect it is, but that’s how it’s been for all my books so far. I have an advanced case of esprit d’escalier only since these great ideas have to do with a novel which takes a while to put together, I can actually go back with the perfect bon mot and nobody will ever know I didn’t think of it until way late.
I have to do this kind of slice and dice very quickly because I often need to have 3 or 4 chapters all in my head as I reassemble and sort out the bits and put the left overs in the right places, and I don’t want to forget who’s going where. If I go too slow or think too much every thing just goes to heck. It’s scary because in the middle every thing’s a bit fat mess, and I get in there and muck about and then it’s all better. Usually. To be honest, sometimes it’s not and I have to start over. But this one feels good.