Ready for Chapter Ten

I’ve always enjoyed a good jigsaw puzzle, whether the wooden puzzles I played with as a toddler  or the 1500 piece monsters I’ve tackled since. The more complicated the picture, the more satisfying it was to put the puzzle together.

Writing After Christmas Eve is like working a puzzle. The pieces are all on the table, and I have a picture of the finished product to guide me. It’s just a matter of putting everything together.

By comparison, writing Until Thanksgiving was more like going through a maze. I knew where it started, but had no idea where it ended or how to get there. There were several dead ends and wrong turns before I finally found my way to the end of the story.

I’m ready to tackle chapter ten of After Christmas Eve. The manuscript is now up to almost 12,000 words. I’ve written my way through a suicide and the first murder. So far so good. I’ve got one more plot point from Until Thanksgiving to cover and then it’s all new stuff.

The outline is a life saver. Without it, the story at this point would be twice as long. Knowing where I’m going keeps me focused on the main plot. Minor points stay just that, without growing into chapters of their own.

Yes, I added two chapters that weren’t in the original outline. They were essential to the plot. No doubt I’ll add more before the book is finished. But as much as possible, I’m going to try to stick to the outline.

That’s right, from now on, I’m all about tight and focused plot lines. No, I’m not bitter. I’m just determined to get this right.

Tomorrow night I find out what the rest of the writers in my group think of the first four chapters of After Christmas Eve. I can’t wait. Until then, I’ll be keeping myself busy here in…

My Glass House

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