Looking for momentum

As of today, I have more than 23,900 words drafted for Larger than Life. That is comprised of six and a half chapters of wildly divergent sizes. (Chapter one is only 1,732 words while chapter two is 5,471.) I am making progress; I am moving through this, but it still feels as though I am swimming in molasses. I know where I want the story to go, how it must march toward the required end. And I now have a clearer sense of the narrative voice to use (though I haven’t really applied it yet since I’m still assembling the skeleton of the tale). But the story is not yielding itself to me easily, not in the way The Sleep of Reason had when I was writing it.

Some of the time I think that this story is not worth the telling and that I would better spend my time getting started on a completely different novel. I realize that’s a commonplace reaction, apparently at about this point in the process, so I try to ignore those thoughts and forge ahead. I have two novels that I abandoned when this happened to me before. One truly was not worth the trouble and the other was more a political screed than a novel, so I don’t regret giving up on either of them. But I don’t want that kind of surrender to become an easy habit.

At other times I think that if I can pull this story together, it will be the best thing I’ve ever done, with perfectly realized characters and relationships. If The Sleep of Reason is more fantastic, Larger than Life is grounded in real life, in mundane, day-to-day actions and reactions. The former is more plot driven; the latter is more relationships drive. Perhaps that is why it is both challenging and full of potential.

I’m embarking on the pivotal chapter, the introduction of the second most important character and pretty much the halfway point of the story. True, if this really were the halfway point, then I would end up with a novel of fewer than 50,000 words, but that’s not going to be the case. On the one hand, a wholly new chapter presented itself to me in the last few days, one I had not imagined before in the rough outline in my head, so that will increase the word count and the texture of the story. On another hand, I have a new character to begin depicting. She will be both an antagonist and a friend for my central character, so that dynamic should fuel a lot of growth in the story. And finally, there’s that narrative voice I keep hinting at. Once I begin applying that I expect the telling to go off in some interesting directions.

I just wish all of these factors would come together for a while and flow through my fingers without a fight.

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