“Clarity” Diary #2: Writing Chapter 3

Header image: Elisabeth D’Orcy, Flickr

I’ve just posted the third chapter of Clarity up on Scribophile. Here’s the link to it if you’d like to read and critique!

This chapter was the hardest to write so far. It’s about 2,800 words, expanding a section of the original short story that was only a few hundred words at most and adding in a few more new scenes.

All of the past two weeks went into this chapter. Any time I wasn’t working or socializing or keeping up with the rest of life I was trying to figure out the right sequence of events, writing and scrapping those new scenes several times over. And even though this chapter still makes me feel uneasy, still feels incomplete, I also didn’t want to agonize over it anymore and needed some feedback to give me some new perspective.

Despite how hard it was, and how much time I spent to write this chapter, there were some bright spots:

  • I spent a few paragraphs lovingly describing an awesome, if slightly cramped, apartment. It’s filled with musical instruments and sound equipment, and it was fun to lose myself in it. (The people at the library I write in probably think I’m crazy; one thing I’m learning is that I’m actually quite a physical writer, pulling the faces my characters would make in a moment and sighing at various points as I made my own heart flutter.)
  • The process of discovery is always enjoyable to me, even if I feel like I’m dragging myself through it. I’m picking out details and making note of them to bring them back around, and it makes me want to rush through and just write the damn thing already.
  • This was probably my most sensuous chapter. As in, it was the one where I was very consciously trying create a full sensory experience. Whether that’s effective or comes across is to be determined, but I felt pretty immersed in it while re-reading it. My hope is that the whole “If you feel it, your reader will feel it” adage is true.

I’ve already outlined some challenges this week, but here are a few more:

  • I was suddenly very self-conscious because I realized that people were going to read this. The first time I put work up for critique, the idea of “The Reader” still felt a little nebulous. Now, there’s this new sense that people are going to see this, and while it’s exciting and exhilarating, it’s also a little strange. Don’t get me wrong, I am eternally grateful to the people who read, critique and comment. My mind is just shifting around this new information.
  • At times, I lost the thread of my own story. Though the short story serves as a guide from beginning to end, there are a lot of changes to that original plot. When I was writing this, I wondered if it really moved things forward, or was entirely exposition. We shall see what the critiquers say.
  • In real life, I felt exhausted—physically, emotionally, and mentally. Work was exhausting, and I just wasn’t in a great state of mind to write. So that slowed things considerably.

So that’s the state of Clarity right now. Again, please consider reading and commenting on Scribophile! You do have to have a Scribophile account in order to view the chapters, but it’s free to sign up. Plus, if you’re a writer looking to improve, it’s a great site to get feedback on your work.

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