Chapter 10 is completed

I’ve finished the first draft of Chapter 10 of The Sleep of Reason. It came in at 4,500 words, and I know that I said I was not going to pay attention to word count in the chapters, but it is gratifying to find that this chapter filled out to a respectable size in the end. I have other chapters that are twice this length, but each chapter does what it’s supposed to do, so it doesn’t matter how long they are.

As I noted before, this was a fun chapter to write. It involves the interplay between two characters: the protagonist who’s been with us all along, and a new character who needs cajoling. What I didn’t expect was to find out how much “psychology” would evolve in this chapter. The cajoling involves delving into the new character’s psyche a bit, and what I found there was satisfying, especially when I found how I could use it to make my protagonist look more insightful (and manipulative) as well as how I can use it later when the tables turn on the protagonist.

I’m generally dismissive when I hear writers say that they have no idea where their story is going to take them and when they say that a character does something unexpected. I suspect that at some level they know what story they want to tell and what the make up of each character is. Sure, there will be surprises along the way, and different avenues of development may prove more fruitful to go down than those originally planned, but I think the story and the cast are generally well established at the get-go.

Yet with this chapter, I have had one of those unexpected character moments. My protagonist is showing himself to be more complex than I had originally imagined. It’s all organic, of course. I have a given set of qualities for him. I have a number of scenarios I must run him through. The things that come up and the things that happen grow out of that are a combination of character and plot. They are logical, and though they may be unexpected, they are certainly not un-hoped-for.

I had started this novel with the idea of writing something a little creepy. That was the point of it from the days when it was going to be no more than a short story. But now it is taking a deeper psychological turn (deep to my level of these things anyway), and the ties between the characters are growing much more entangled, both in plot and in literary reference, than I had anticipated. That may be why it didn’t work as a short story. There was simply too much story to tell.

And that’s a good thing.

I’m past the halfway point. I know the characters and the necessary points of the remaining plot very well now. It’s writing itself, and all I have to do now it seems is keep up.

Explore posts in the same categories: Humble efforts, Sleep of Reason

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