1. cmshepard
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    cmshepard Member

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    Scrap it or continue?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by cmshepard, Jan 5, 2013.

    I have been working on my novel for a while now, but I'm stuck on a chapter. I know where it's going, I know what needs to be done... It's just going to end up being roughly three times longer than my other chapters (and it's a lull chapter about a party at work).

    Should I scrap it and rewrite (parts of it may be stagnating a bit, but that could be fixed in editing - it's not awful) or just continue then break it down into separate chapters in editing?

    I would almost call it writers block aside from... Well, I have spent so much time figuring out what, when, who, etc. that I'm just bored with it. =-/ Not with the story or the chapter itself, but with writing the thing.

    Also - a quick question about drug use in novels... My main character is a powerful business woman, fairly young... Would it be completely off-putting for her to occasionally smoke marijuana? I suppose if the general consensus is yes then I could srap the chapter and rewrite.

    Thanks in advance. =-]
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Generally, I would say to just write it and then see what happens. You might find that something important happens at the party or we might discover something new, interesting and important about one of the characters. But I am curious about your statement that "it's a lull chapter about a party at work." What does this mean? Does this mean it's totally unimportant and nothing happens? If so, why is it there? But, for some reason, since you feel it needs to be there, I suggest writing it and then see what develop. Sometimes in these sorts of scenes we find some really wonderful character development. If truly nothing happens, then you could consider scrapping it later.

    As far as the marijuana use, who cares if some people find it off-putting? If it's something she does, it's something she does. Some people might find it off-putting if she *doesn't* smoke marijuana. Don't write it to please "people." Write it the way it pleases yourself and what most truly shows the characters as you envision them.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Chapter lengths do not need to be the same! Make your chapters the size they need to be, based on the criteria you used in the first place to choose your chapter breaks.

    Just write your story. You'll have plenty of opportunity to clean it up after your first draft is finished.
     
  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, don't worry about chapter length. A friend of mine never worries about chapters at all until the book is finished - then she goes through and divvies it up. Must work okay, because she's on her 4th or 5th published book now. ;)
     
  5. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    I've had this problem. I put the chapter away and started it again, trying to come from a slightly different angle. The more you try to amend it, the more you seem to get bogged down in what you think in should have been. Starting again can give you a different perspective. Keep the original, just in case in a few weeks you end up loving it.

    The drug use wouldn't bother me. It adds another dimension to the character. Drug use is a fact of life and if it's appropriate to the story there's no harm in using it. (the story I mean, not the drug!)
     
  6. cmshepard
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    cmshepard Member

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    Thanks for the feedback guys. I shall keep working on it and amend later. =-]

    And what I mean by lull chapter is that it's not full of the "action" - I don't want to be "in your face" with everything - however; I do have a lot of important information in it that is necessary to the book, plus I'm introducing a few new characters that are integral to the story. =-] Things happen, just not the main focus.
     
  7. Hambone
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    Hambone Member

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    Great advice from everyone. My 2 cents on the drug use: put it in, and perhaps a reason why she does it. Used to do it in college and never gave it up? Has stomach trouble and the ganja helps? You decide, but whatever the reason may add to the character involved.
     
  8. TheMightyPen
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    TheMightyPen New Member

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    In my honest opinion I think you should continue with the chapter.
    The "party at work" chapter, may be significantly longer than the others, like you said, but every chapter doesn't need to be the same length. Perhaps this party, will offer a greater insight to the characters present and as such, will require more pages.

    As for the main character smoking marijuana, I would assume that some people may find that off-putting, but it's a trait that I think she should keep. Maybe, work that negative mentality towards cannabis into the story.
     
  9. cmshepard
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    cmshepard Member

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    The girl was adopted by her uncle who is mafia - I feel like she needed to pick up on something that they did other than the main focus of the story (not going to give that away)... I thought about cocaine, but tbh I have no experience there. Plus, that's a bit hard - almost everyone who has gone to college has smoked pot a time or two... Not everyone has done coke. I didn't think she should be complete business woman and had only picked up on one thing from her uncle and vodka isn't her thing. =-] Thus the marijuana use - though it's not a main focus and is only a small part of the story.
     
  10. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think you need to necessarily explain why she does the marijuana. Plenty of people smoke it without having experienced some sort of tragic incident or someone forcing it on them. Most people don't seem to feel ashamed or bad about smoking it, either, so unless you want her to feel bad about doing it, you don't have to make it something she got from an unseemly uncle. (It's not truly addictive like cocaine, and doesn't have the same degree of physical effects and negative impact on the body, so if you're looking for something with an edge of addiction or something she'd be trying seriously to stop taking, something like cocaine might be a better choice -- although you'd have to research the effects, since you don't know about it first hand. And no, I'm not suggesting you actually try cocaine if you go that route ;-)

    As an aside, I attended college, and attended law school, yet have never smoked pot. So I'm not saying this from a perspective of, 'oh yeah -- everyone smokes pot.' It's just that it's not something particularly shocking or all that unusual, and doesn't present the same kind of moral implications of other drugs.
     
  11. cmshepard
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    cmshepard Member

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    Lol I wasn't implying that everyone in college does/did it... I just did and know sooooooooo many people who did, also. And I'm not treating it like a very bad thing, or even a bad thing at all. She just picked it up from her uncle (not unseemly, really -- just one of those things I'd have to give out more than I want to truly explain) because she was adopted at 15 and he was one of those, "I'd rather you do it at home than out where you could get into trouble" kind of people. She just kept it as a young entrepreneur in the tech field... Not coincidentally do I also know several techies that kept smoking after the teens.

    As for the cocaine... I'd rather not get that hard with the drug use in this. It already has some pretty outstandingly in-your-face aspects... Coke would probably be too much.

    BTW, I'm glad you feel that way about it not being too shocking. I'm assuming the people who will be reading this won't be too stunned by marijuana anyway... Just a thought. =-]
     
  12. Terry Turton
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    Terry Turton Member

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  13. Drusy
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    Drusy Senior Member

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    So from a readers' perspective, I'm trying to imagine the scene and the question that I come up with about her smoking pot is what does this inform me about her character? I agree that you don't have to give the whole back story but there should probably be something there that gives us a clue about why she is smoking it now. If this is the only scene in the story that has her smoking pot I am tempted to feel a little duped about her development. Is she particularily stressed out? Does she only do it when at parties? Is it an old friend from college that hands it to her? Is she torn at all about whether she should smoke it or is she relieved and can't wait? Just a sentence or two would do. While I don't think it's too shocking, it is still outside the social "norm". Otherwise, it wouldn't be such an issue in the news and politics so it would help me as a reader to understand the why. But that's just me.
     
  14. PaulKemp24
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    The older brother of my main character is a Vietnam vet addicted to heroin. Just walk into any bookstore and you'll find plenty of novels riddled with drug use -- even in the YA section. I wouldn't worry about it, especially when it's just pot you're talking about. Anybody that is shocked by marijuana needs to wake up and smell the 21st century.

    I know what you mean about the "work party scene." I find myself feeling not so excited to write certain sections of my novel. They need to be in there for the purpose of the story but I don't jump out of bed in the morning rushing to the computer to write them the way I do for other sections. You can always skip ahead and write that chapter later. You don't always have to write from beginning to end. Perhaps if you skip ahead it will change what needs to take place at the party and will make it more interesting/fun to write.
     
  15. Dannabis
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    Dannabis New Member

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    I think the best thing with creative arts is that they need not conform. Your chapter can be as long as you please. Think about films that have been confined to one space. 127 hours is set entirely in a hole in the ground. Lebonen is set in a tank. I'm always impressed to see a hooking story set in one place/event.
     

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