1. Brandon P.
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    Brandon P. Senior Member

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    Not sure how to continue my novel's second chapter

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Brandon P., Nov 17, 2010.

    I'm writing a quasi-historical novel featuring a fictional conflict between ancient Egyptians and Babylonians, with the former being the "good guys" and the latter being the "bad guys". It currently has three character arcs: one about the Babylonians' general, one about the Egyptian Pharaoh, and one about a common Egyptian soldier. My first chapter, which is almost 2,500 words long, has the following scenes:

    1) The Babylonians attacking a small town on the Egyptian empire's northernmost frontier
    2) The Pharaoh being notified of this
    3) The soldier practicing his fighting skills and then being notified of the invasion
    4) The Pharaoh visiting her father's mortuary temple to ask his spirit for guidance
    5) The soldier saying goodbye to his family

    And my second chapter, which currently has 940 words, has these scenes so far:

    1) The Egyptian warriors performing a preparatory war dance
    2) The soldier boarding a warship and gazing at the Nile banks from its deck
    3) The Babylonians capturing some Egyptian scouts

    Unfortunately, I'm stumped as to how to continue the second chapter so that it has at least as many scenes as the previous one. What would you recommend I add?
     
  2. Jones6192
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    Jones6192 Member

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    It doesn't necessarily have to have as many scenes as previous chapters. If you keep doing that, you might end up creating too much padding in order to fool yourself into thinking that there's "stuff" going on. I do it all the time, and it's one of the many things I struggle with in my own writing.
     
  3. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, look at it this way: each chapter contains an overall theme. The first seems to be one of starting and things that make beginnings. Chapter 2 is about setting off. Decide what journey all your characters are going to take, and put them on it. I'd guess the 3rd scene in it would lead to intelligence going back to the Pharaoh, and that small incident can be the stepping stone to lead her onto whatever path she takes. You haven't got too much with the Babylonians, so maybe cut back to them and have it as the concluding scene to the chapter where they too view their position in terms of just starting on their campaign or something?

    So not telling you how to write this -- just thinking about your story in terms of the theme of the chapter.

    Basically, each chapter you write, think of the theme that connects all 3 main characters, write to it, and change chapter, however many scenes are in it or not, when you reach a new point in their lives. It may be they are all involved in the same battle and you write 30 short scenes in the same chapter later. It may be that one of them (presumably the Pharaoh) takes a very different journey, so you find yourself cutting to a new chapter exclusively for her almost every time you write a scene with her. If, themeatically, that is the best way to do it, then do it, and don't worry about filling a scene:chapter quota.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Just write the novel and worry about where to put the chapter breaks later. There's no point in obsessing about chaptere balancing, especially at this early stage.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    My chapters range from 800 words to 5000 words - the short one was a scene where a main character came out to his brother. It is entirely dialogue between them. I personally felt that to add anything to it would reduce the impact.

    Write the chapter right rather than worrying about the number of words.
     
  6. Brandon P.
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    Brandon P. Senior Member

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    I thank both Melzaar and Cogito for their advice.
     

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