About Chapter Eleven

April 18th, 2008

Some of you who actually remember earlier chapters of COUNTERCLOCKWISE might be puzzled by the sudden appearance in the chapter below of a character named Adam. And there’s good reason for this, which has to do with the shamefully slapdash approach I’ve taken to writing this book.

The guy named Adam in Chapter Eleven was originally named Andrew when he made his ten- or twenty-word appearance back in Chapter Three. Then I plunged ahead with the story without adjusting my rear-view mirror, and gave the name Andrew to Laura’s difficult and largely absent husband.

This is inexcusable, but I apologize anyway.

I’d been having trouble writing the chapter (Gee, I wonder why?), so I did the first thing I would suggest to anyone who found himself in my position: I joined all the chapters into a single document and read it straight through. It was an interesting experience, one I should have had many times by now and one I’ll repeat every time I come back to the book. There are a lot of balls in the air that I’d forgotten all about, including one that’s the size of Jupiter and that I have absolutely no idea how to deal with.

Also found that I’m now at about 22,500 words, roughly a quarter of the way through, and actually not in bad shape as far as that’s concerned. We need a little action pretty soon, but other than that, I was surprised to find that I actually like parts of it. I’ve been so unhappy with the structural problems — the need I had perceived to end every chapter with some sort of grabber, the episodic way in which I was writing it, with weeks in between working sessions — that I’d actually been reluctant to read it. Well, now I’ve read it, and it’s got some okay stuff in it.

If I do say so myself.

6 Responses to “About Chapter Eleven”

  1. Lisa Kenney Says:

    I kind of feel the same way. I am turning pages (up to 50) in to a new critique group I was invited to join by someone I was in an 8 week work shop with and I’m a little torn between going back to fiddle with the beginning and feeling the need to move forward. Your post is making me think that the review and rough revision of the start isn’t such a bad idea while I’m a little stuck about how to move on.

  2. Larissa Says:

    you mean Counterclockwise? (c: and this is what we’ve been telling you all along. it’s decent stuff. I need to sit down a print mine out and see what I’ve got…

  3. Steve Wylder Says:

    I wouldn’t have remembered the original Adam/Andrew if you hadn’t brought it up. I don’t think I’ve renamed characters along the way. It’s just that as I write my DC novel, I’m creating backstories for a lot of my characters and need to go back and redo earlier chapters to incorporate them. Not exactly in the spirit of the Dickens Challenge.

    You’re doing exactly what you need to do–flesh out your suspects and keep up our interest. And at least you recognized the discrepancy. Conan Doyle wasn’t consistent on Watson’s war wounds or wives.

  4. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Larissa, I certainly do mean “Counterclockwise.” Just, um, seeing whether anyone was paying attention. I’m changing the title in the post now.

    Lisa — anything that roots you in the work is to the good. My main problem has been that I normally work on a book seven days a week, anywhere from three to eight hours a day, so the whole fabric of the manuscript is fresh and accessible, and even when I’m not writing part of my mind is somewhere in the story. With COUNTERCLOCKWISE, there’s always been another novel that demanded that investment of time and imagination, and CCWise was sort of at the back of the shelf. Every now and then I’d move things around and pick it up again. The review of the entire manuscript, complete with some redlining, really opened it up for me.

  5. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Thanks, Steve — I have a feeling a lot of us are going back to the beginning with a whisk broom, or perhaps an industrial vacuum cleaner or a snow plow, to tidy things up a bit. And I don’t think that’s antithetical to the spirit of the DC at all — the thing that we’ve committed to do is to post the chapters as we write them. After all, if we discover the story by writing it, our view of the beginning – written when we knew very little — is going to continue to change until we’ve finished.

  6. Larissa Says:

    Steve and Tim, that makes me feel better because I had to sit down and add a few things in to the beginning chapters so that the story that is beginning to evolve will make sense. I agree-the fact that we’re posting our work, regardless of who is out there and that we’re all trying to stick to a schedule is important.

    Lisa-
    That might be a good idea. You have so much great material and we’re all dying for more. If you ever need a sounding board (aside from the ones that i’m sure you’ve recruited already hehe) you can always feel free to shoot me an email.

    Ok..back at it. 😀

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