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Progress on Chapter 15

I've been working on chapter 15 since the minute I posted chapter 14. It's tough.

I wrote bits for it way back in the beginning. I thought I had a pretty good idea where it was supposed to go. It just leads into Sixteen and a bit of plot. But it's been rough. I keep thinking of all kinds of things that could happen -- lighthearted talks, serious talks, serious disagreements, loving sex, angry sex, angsty non-sex. Nothing quite persuades me that it has to happen -- that this is the very next thing that happens, before we get to the Bit of Plot. I write, and I read it, and I think, "John talking about his childhood -- that's all very well, but you've been doing that for fourteen chapters. You're stalling for time."

Plus, the stuff that needs to be said after chapter 14 (a little clarification on Penny's reaction to John's world) is coming out very clunky. There are a few good paragraphs and a lot of awkward attempts at putting things into words. It's funny that something that makes such sense to me is so hard to put into words. Maybe it's because it's easy for me to summarize, and say, "Penny feels this way", but to portray it as a series of realizations, as a train of thought, is much harder. Dramatizing the exposition, that's the trick.

I put Penny and John together, looking at each other, and they start to talk. But if they clear up all their issues, then the Bit of Plot can't happen properly and then I don't know what's going to happen.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 26th, 2008 09:49 pm (UTC)
I really don't think you should worry too much about writing John talking about his childhood. That's the fascinating part of the story for me. It isn't full of action and car chases and that's fine. I'm always making the mistake of overcomplicating the plot when really what people want is the relationships - that's what they don't get on TV.
Apr. 27th, 2008 12:07 am (UTC)
overcomplicating the plot when really what people want is the relationships

I've read some good plotty fic, but yeah, mostly what I'm looking for is what doesn't get developed in 42 minutes a week onscreen. I've always said I'd love an episode that was nothing but Doctor and companion sitting around the console room talking.
Apr. 27th, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)
Well, what constitutes plot is all relative to the story, I suppose: the story is all about relationships, so the plotty bit coming up involves a challenge to their relationship. And if they reach too perfect an understanding of each other ahead of time, the plotty bit won't work. And then I don't know how I'll get us to the end I have in mind.
Apr. 27th, 2008 12:50 am (UTC)
I feel as if a certain number of things need to get said in the next bit (John and Penny the next morning). Some ground has to be covered. And then I'm not sure what else should happen. Maybe nothing. Maybe I shouldn't spend a whole chapter on the next morning but instead move them on to what happens next.

I was concerned about what you said in your comment to the last chapter. You said that the leisurely pace was still satisfying, but it got me worried that maybe I was taking too long to tell it, the shifts and changes in feeling and perspective not happening fast enough. I could easily fill this chapter just with John reminiscing or explaining details of his life to Penny, but I don't want it to become filler. And that's what it's feeling like when I write it.
Apr. 27th, 2008 03:18 am (UTC)
Yes, the pace is leisurely but not excessively so. If you read from start to finish, (as I have done many times because I'm a hopeless addict of your fic) it moves very well. The pace is exaggerated when you just read a chapter at a time, or read the same chapter repeatedly in isolation. (Yeah, I've done that too). Taken as a whole, every little part feels important. You might want to re-read the other chapters, if you haven't done so lately. Once upon a time, that's all it took for me to get unstuck.

I write, and I read it, and I think, "John talking about his childhood -- that's all very well, but you've been doing that for fourteen chapters. You're stalling for time."

For me, it is entirely appropriate for John to talk more about himself. I think, up until now, John has been holding back somewhat and he would begin to open up more. It's one thing to talk about events in your childhood and quite another to relate how you feel about those events. That's not fluff or filler; that's progress. That could also serve to heighten any conflict or crisis of faith if it happens just as he begins to really share his inner self.

Just my two cents. Sorry to ramble on.
Apr. 27th, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
Do you have anybody to look it over with you? I'd be happy to help if you'd like me to. My address is ruth.waterton@gmail.com .

I've a feeling that people would like the filler. I don't think we'd be writing this stuff if we didn't enjoy probing our characters a little deeper. If anything, I'd love to hear more of John's feelings about his mystery dad and begin to probe into his difficult relationship with Rose. And some background on Penny might be interesting too.
Apr. 27th, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC)
Take your time. I think I speak for all the avid fans of this fic when I say you can have as much time as you need to perfect this chapter. Quality has always been the standout mark of your writing - not speed.

Relax and let the words flow ...
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )