Writing the unplanned.
The other day as I was giving myself a mini celebration for almost reaching my goal and deadline for my book, I noticed an error in my chapter guideline. The portion I had slated for my final chapter, which keep in mind should be about 3000 words, was honestly about a paragraph’s worth of material. I was 3 chapters from the end when I realized this and had to figure out what to do. So I knew that had to combine the material chapters 39 and 40. What I was left with was an empty chapter.
Why am I so stuck on my book being 40 chapters? I don’t know I read somewhere once that a fantasy novel should be about 40 chapters and about 120,000 words, so I made that my goal. What am I doing about the empty chapter? Well that is what I wanted to talk about today. Writing what you never intended to write.
The way I had my story originally outlined, I did not feel there was anything that I had left unaddressed, however, I looked at where I could elaborate instead. For my story in particular, chapter 38 happened to be the ending of a war and chapter 39 was intended to be the coronation ceremony of the Queen. I decided to fill that space, since the coronation became chapter 40, by elaborating on the emotions following the war.
Now that I have completed that portion, I see a lot of content that many would say should be cut from the final product, but I also value in some of what is there. I believe that when I go back and edit/re-write other chapters will grow and split and the missing chapter will be something else all together, but at least I have more material to work with.
I think it is best to avoid large gaps in writing if at all possible. I would say the best way to prevent this is pay attention to your chapter guideline, storyboard, or whatever you use as an outline for your writing. My error could have been spotted early on, but I was only looking at my outline chapter by chapter. So go back every few chapters and look at your guideline as a whole. Your story will likely change as you write it so you may need to revisit your layout and shift things.
Tomorrow is D-Day, deadline day, celebration day, more importantly my day of victory. I’ll be finishing up my novel tomorrow morning and I look forward to sharing my victory with you.