A new chapter! Finally! Yay!
Aside from the aforementioned fact I’ve finally graduated from UIW with a bachelor’s, I’ve started the SAC associates program for ASL interpreters. It’s going really well so far. It’s a different type of mentally taxing than my Cultural Studies degree, which makes it easier to find time and energy to work on fanfic writing.
Is that all?
No. Holy shit, no. The Juniper segment of this chapter was easy enough, but for some reason the Elficer Ralph segments were the biggest goddamn issue I’ve ever had the displeasure of writing.
Okay, so a little relevant background on my writing process. I tend to think of myself as more of a pantser with plotter tendencies. I have a beat sheet and an endpoint in mind for where my story is going, so I’m not wandering around blind, but I am filling in the beat sheet as I go. I tend to have a couple chapters lightly outlined wherever I happen to be in the story. And I also tend to gauge if a scene or chapter is working for me by approaching it with puzzle piece rules: If it’s too hard to fit it in and make work, I need to re-evaluate if this piece fits here or if it even belongs to this puzzle at all. It’s not that some stuff isn’t difficult to write, it just shouldn’t be forced. Otherwise, you’ll ruin both the pieces and the puzzle itself if you force enough pieces to fit. It’s all very new-agey and zen and stuff. But it works for me.
The problem with the Elficer Ralph segments was that I made the mistake of underestimating the difficulty involved in writing the segments. And when you’re figuring out if you should have a scene in a piece by if it’s being overly difficult to work with, this can become a huge tripping point.
The whole thing started as the idea of having a scene where the Council being mysterious and foreshadowy as a way of bringing Jack back in the forefront of the readers’ attention. That was it. Simple, right?
I had unknowingly given myself a clusterfuck of difficult writing challenges, the biggest of which were:
- A scene with over 2 people all actively engaged in a conversation
- An argument I had to keep shrouded in mystery somehow so I wouldn’t give too much away, but also not just be pointlessly spoopy fluff
To any fellow writers out there, I must implore that you do NOT underestimate the challenges these two issues present. Even if you’ve been writing for a long time, ignore their difficulty at your own peril. Especially if you utilize touchy-feely hippie shit like I do.
Because you will rewrite the scene until armageddon because your gauge for how difficult writing the scene should be is going to be way off.
Here’s just a few examples of different versions this section went through:
- Death sitting amongst partying fae as he waits for the Council to show up
- An unnecessary establishing scene at the police station re-iterating that Ralph doesn’t want to be out in the cold for a pointless call
- A fae running into Death and freaking out in a similar manner to Ralph in the final product
- Just trying to jump into the argument but revealing frickin’ everything, which I did not want.
If I can get the Draftback app I use in Google Docs to work, I may add a visual of all the changes that it tracked and went through in the process of writing this. Just. Oh my god.
I hope y’all enjoy it though! I’m looking forward to not working on this chapter anymore.