Chapter 8 creeps forward; it’s haunted, I tell you!

Sometimes the words come with ease and alacrity, and other times I must squeeze them out of my brain one by one. Chapter 8 of The Sleep of Reason is creeping along. I’ve managed to put down 1,100 words in the last week. This is the last chapter I must re-create after the loss from my hard drive crash, and that alone is frustrating my effort. But in the weeks that have passed, I had thought of a device to add to the earlier chapters (see my Costume Changes post) that comes to a sort of fruition in Chapter 8, so I have to write carefully to incorporate that. And as I noted in an earlier post or two, this is a pivotal chapter that must explain much of what has come before and set the stage for what must come after.

Part of what is bothering me is the ghost of the old Chapter 8. I cannot simply rewrite this chapter based on my notes and what I know it must do. No, I’m constantly nudged to remember how I had phrased this or that in the first draft or what order I had sequenced the various steps. It is as though that ur-chapter was the one, true version, and anything else is a failure. I don’t need to reproduce the lost chapter verbatim. I can write the chapter as I conceive it now. But I find myself questioning every word that I put down, based on what I can’t honestly remember from before.

I don’t know why this has affected me with Chapter 8. I’ve already written two chapters to replace the lost Chapter 7, and I don’t recall feeling this, or at least feeling this so much, when I wrote those. It’s frustrating, and I’ll be glad when I can get past this and on to fresh chapters that aren’t haunted by earlier incarnations.

Disclosure: If you’ve been parsing my posts closely (and who hasn’t?) then you may have spotted an inconsistency. When my hard drive crashed, I lost what were then Chapter 6 and Chapter 7. The old Chapter 6 is now the new Chapters 6 and 7; I found when I rewrote them that I had more material to present and thus did so in two chapters. The old Chapter 7 is now the new Chapter 8. I’ve made a few references to the “old Chapter 8” but it did not in fact exist by that name. I’m sure that clears up the confusion.

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