Last night I stayed up fighting with a new and totally unexpected chapter, #14. I had imagined chapter 13 going in a particular direction, but I got to the end of a sentence and realized that was the end of it. It was time for a new scene, new setup and the whole nine-yards. I wasn’t expecting to go that way. Now, I’ve got an idea of where I want this chapter to go, but it actually has to become a chapter in it’s own right instead of being the end to a chapter. I have a setting, a few highlights in my mind about what things look like, and also a notion of how it ends.
What I’m struggling with is how to escalate the situation so that the beginning of the chapter gets to the end I am aiming for. Here’s the basic situation, the main characters* have chosen to navigate around an enemy fortress using an ancient, mysterious network of caves**. The caves are, ostensibly, safe providing they don’t go too deep. I can approach this in one of two ways. The first is, I think, the ‘too easy’ approach. In this scenario, the caves are not actually safe. Not only is this an easy thing for me, the writer, it also sets up something of an impossible situation for the characters, necessitating an easy out. Another approach is to have the characters take a wrong turn. I like this idea because it continues a theme of the know-it-all character’s imperfect knowledge. Also, if stuck in a system of caves with an imperfect memory of how to get through them, you’re basically assured to take a wrong turn. This also sets up a fight and a chase which will get the characters to the end of the chapter in exactly the manner I’m planning. Hiving spit all that out, the second choice seems like the logical direction.
With that, I think I’m off. Well, after I sort out chickens and ducks, and go to a super-bowl party. On the bright side, it’s apparently warmed up from around 0F to above freezing, so that’s nice.
* There are three
** This sounds silly as I write it, actually. Not only does it sound cliche, it’s also sort of convenient. I’m sticking with it though, because I need these for later chapters/books. Perhaps the trick to making this work is to make these relevant to the story and world somehow.