I’m working on a transition between my unexpected chapter 14, and chapter 15. Chapter 15 is a lovely bit of the story because I’ve had it drafted since my story was little more than a sketch so it’s pretty well polished. The problem I’ve got though, and have had since the chapter was originally written, is that I’m still struggling to develop a good transition from the previous chapter. Trying to work this out brings me back to well worn ground. How do you open a chapter? Chapter 1 feels like a special case, for starters, you haven’t got to connect it to a previous chapter, and also you don’t have to worry about starting it in exactly the same way as the previous chapter –because there isn’t one. My horrible, awful and cringe-worthy habit is to start them out with the main character waking up. I hate it and yet inevitably this is where I’m drawn. Just being aware of this unfortunate habit gives me the opportunity to address it, and believe me I am. I really don’t have a good solution for this except to say that it’s probably not a good idea to always start your chapters with the same kind of action, unless there is some very specific reason to.
Fortunately, my problem with chapter 15 isn’t that the main character is waking up at the start of it for the 10th chapter in a row. Instead, the issue at hand is specific to pacing. In chapter 14. The action concludes and the main characters are orienting themselves for the next leg of their journey. In chapter 15, they reach their goal and the action resumes. In between the end of chapter 14 and their goal in 15 are two days of travel. I don’t particularly want to spend a lot of time describing their journey down the road or insert some sort of additional conflict as they go. I could add a bit of conflict here before they reach their goal, but it feels like adding unnecessary events that I’ll just need to cut anyhow. For now, I think I’m going to start with a description of the landscape as it has changed over their two days, and use something like a flash-back to describe those two days of travel. The summary will probably cover no more than a few paragraphs, but to work, I think it’s going to need to be longer than a few sentences. Then, I’ll just continue plugging away at trying to have all of book one into a full draft. After that, I’ll go back and start revising, one problem at a time. Looking at chapter transitions is going to be one of those things, I think.
As I’m writing this, I’m working on a little glass of Jameson 18 year (neat, if you must know). My brother-in-law gave it to my wife and I for Christmas. It’s frikin’ excellent. Smooth with hints of pear and cinnamon. It’s really excellent stuff and I highly recommend it.