Monday, April 4, 2011

Oddly Enough, There's Still No Chapter Seven

About a month ago, I posted what was then the most up to date outline of Hart, the gothic/ronance/thriller/horror/noir/fairytale book I was writing. All the potential chapters were neatly numbered, but Mr. Cavin commented that there was no Chapter Seven. Apparently in a few previous outlines, there weren't any Chapter Sevens either.

The reason there was no Chapter Seven was because Hart, unlike every other book I ever wrote, got written piecemeal. I'd write a chapter, then completely change my mind and either rewrite it or dump it or place it in a different section of the book. Since I wrote Hart essentially for my own entertainment (the two times I've mentioned it to my agent, she has chosen not to respond), I didn't really care how I wrote it.

But now the first draft is finished, and probably on Wednesday I'll read the whole thing and start thinking about rewrites and polishing. I never wrote another outline, but out of curiosity just now I wrote down the chapter numbers and their order. So without giving away any part of the plot but all of the disorganization, here's the listing of chapters exactly as they now stand:

Chapter Three
Chapter Five
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Twenty One
Twenty Two
Chapter Twenty Three
Twenty Four
Twenty Five
Twenty Three
Twenty Four
Twenty Four
Twenty Seven
Chapter Thirty
Thirty One

I'm still torn between putting a number on Unnumbered or making it an Afterward, to balance the Prelude.

Or maybe I'll just name it Chapter Seven. Every book should have one!


Mr. Cavin said...

I love this post modern thing! Order is so cliché. Really, I was laughing so hard by the middle of that list that I stopped and started reading it again out loud to myself. Maybe name that last chapter Epilogue: Chapter Ten. Because, you know, two missing chapters is probably too many--unless they are both chapter seven.

Fear Death By Water said...

DARN IT! you beat me to it. :-)

word verification is: ovensing

Hart II: Ovensing!

Susan said...


So did you write scenes as they came to you and then numbered them?

-Another Susan

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Good morning Mr. Cavin and Fear Death By Water and the far superior to me Susan-

Okay, okay, I'll put in a Chapter Ten. Maybe one of the excess Chapter Thirteens will do.

As far as the highly organized writing went, I did write full scenes, but I moved them around a lot, and once they got moved, they frequently had to get changed. Or sometimes they stayed put but got changed anyway.

For example, the sacrifice in the woods chapter stayed pretty much as always intended (perhaps because it was one of the last scenes I wrote), but it took me a long time to figure out exactly where in the story it fit.

The picnic scene, on the other hand, stayed where I'd always thought it would be, but it stopped being a picnic. Same basic action and purpose, but I'd rewritten the setup to the scene so often that it ended up happening in the middle of the night, so there was no reason why it would still be a picnic.

The whole book felt like doing an extremely tricky crossword puzzle. Of course now the question is did I put in the right answers when I filled them in!

Nina said...

What with a sacrifice in the woods and a middle of the night non-picnic, how could it go wrong? Bang on, as the Brits say. I hope we get to read it someday :*)

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Nina-

I hope you get to read it someday also. Well, I think I hope so. I'll know better after I read it myself!