November 5th, 2019 – 405

Busy days are a mixed blessing to be sure. I have gotten a lot done today, but at the same time it’s been a huge blur. It’s the days like this which make me thankful I have Trello to keep all the little cues and tasks out of my head. On the flip side, my head isn’t a font of inspiration today, which is not huge news I guess; I am still shattered after all. Even so, I’m in a tantalising situation.

I crunched the numbers yesterday, as it’s become apparant that I now turn out half a chapter of TSS a day. That is, quite a nice little workflow. I like that every day is either ‘start something new’ or ‘finish something’. When I do write a book on 1K and what I’ve learned from it one day I have a feeling this will have evolved into a central pillar. It makes it easier to motivate myself to write. If I end up with a small sprinkle of 1,500 word chapters, then I may in fact finish by the end of the year on my current pace. Take that with the biggest grain of salt you can. Try not to choke on it. Or better yet, don’t eat massive grains of salt. 

Where was I? Oh yeah, so here’s a slight rub: I’m not convinced my chapters have enough conflict. In a way they never can; conflict is the secret spice of any great prose, or even text in general. Even a mild ‘oh’ moment provides a kick to the reader and holds their attention more. Throwing the unexpected, even in subtle ways, is how you hook a reader. And to be blunt, I don’t do it enough. I need to figure out what the question is I need to be asking of each chapter. Here’s a few draft ideas:

– What are the ‘sides’ of this chapter?

– Who is protagonist/antagonist in this situation?

– Why is the scene a conflict?

– Who am I ‘rooting for’ in this encounter?

– What does this change?

Those are all valid questions to various degrees. I still don’t think any one of them is quite the great filter question I’m looking for. I want a question that teases out if the conflict is engaging enough, but worded like that it’s far too wooly. No what I need is a “Does this X?” or “Does X Y Zinglinly” that makes me look at a chapter. 

Whatever the question is, it needs to tell me if the chapter has enough tension and grip, or is too mundane. That’s of course a tricky subject for me, as exploring the mundane is a part of writing I love. But the mundane must have tensions of its own, and I need to figure out how to tease out if that tension is there.

One to think on. In the meantime I am going to use my lunch break now to go through my TSS chapter outline and try to figure this out.