Chapter 17 is completed

I managed to complete Chapter 17 of my novel, The Sleep of Reason, today. I did this in part by truncating it sooner than I had originally intended, moving the unused material to the next chapter.

This is the fateful chapter. It is the one in which my protagonist acts, as a free man, and seals his fate. It has the hallmarks of a traditional Greek tragedy at this point (though with my story-behind-the-story, that transforms into a post-modern tragedy). Given the importance of the events in the chapter, I decided not to dilute them by continuing the narrative once the critical work was accomplished. Thus some related but separate actions that result from the fateful act are now pushed to the next chapter. There they can be given their due attention and not interfere with the import of Chapter 17.

As a result, Chapter 17 comes in at about 4,200 first-draft words, which is a little short for what has become the standard for this novel, but a) I’ve never considered chapter word count to be important at this stage of the writing, and b) the crisis is better served by a shorter chapter. There is more punch to it.

Curiously, though I know (in some obscure compartment of my little mind) that I’m going to have to rewrite every word of this novel in the third-person narrative, I’m not letting that awareness interfere with the first-person narrative writing I’m doing now. That is, I’m not questioning how I should phrase something so that it will lend itself to the coming rewrite. I’m simply roaring along with the protagonist as the narrator, and I think that is good for the integrity of the story telling. I’ll finish the story in the same manner as I’ve told the four-fifths already told, and then I’ll worry about the re-telling.

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