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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Paddy Plays in Dead Mule Swamp- Next Chapter

cover for Paddy Plays in Dead Mule Swamp cover design by Farah Evers
In which the opening of Chapter 13 becomes Chapter 12, and other feats of reformation.

Writers will often state that a work will take on a life of its own and dictate what should happen next, or when. I've been a victim of that phenomenon this week.

I have an outline, supposedly through Chapter 18 (when I have to make a plot decision). So, I started Chapter 12 on Thursday, right after finishing 11. I thought I knew what was going to happen in it. But I got a few paragraphs in and stalled. What should John Aho tell Ana? What was the real reason for the attack with the tire iron? Then I stalled. I didn't know the answers to those questions yet.

Finally, I decided to just finish that chapter later and move on to the next one where some action was due to occur. Last night I couldn't sleep, so I began writing that scene. But the more I wrote, the more I realized that it needed a long build-up, which became its own chapter, but delaying the action any more might be unwise. So much for the original Chapter 12! I reduced it to seven sentences, left those unanswered questions unanswered (it's a mystery after all) and it became the ending for Chapter 11.

I'm back to matching with my outline (not that it matters a bit... it's just a tentative way to track the timeline of the story), and something big is about to happen in Chapter 13.

Meanwhile, here's an excerpt from the current Chapter 12:
    Len was seated on the couch folding a basket of laundry, and Sunny was eating toast with red jelly at the counter which served to divide the kitchen from the living room. It was a typical set-up for a single-wide trailer, made with cheap materials. The cupboard doors were chipped and the Formica countertop was worn. Everything looked beat-up and dingy, but clean. There were no sagging curtain rods, or gaping holes in the paneling with erupting insulation, so typical of old mobile homes which have been subjected to years of family life. I was impressed.
You can buy book 1, News from Dead Mule Swamp, for only 99¢ at Smashwords, or Amazon

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