Friday, 30 October 2020

The Dreaded Chapter Five

I blogged about this a couple of years ago and I don't know whether to feel disheartened or vindicated to be blogging about it again!  Because there is a certain point in every book where a brick wall appears; for me this happens at chapter five, every time. Why?  I think many writers - at least those aiming to send off those first three chapters to publishers or editors - tend to work so hard on the opening section that they experience a bit of a slump in the following chapters, or lose their way temporarily.  Having carved out the characters and set up the conflict that will keep them apart until the end, the task is now to keep them apart yet bring them together at the same time.  The 'getting to know you' stage has to be delicately balanced in order to sustain the underlying conflict between the characters, and add in even more challenges for them to overcome on the road to that Happy Ever After. So it is completely understandable that a writer might run out of steam faced with this task. The way through it and out the other end is, of course, to keep writing and keep believing, and have the wisdom to see what's not working, and to cut out that hard-wrought yet unusable writing.  And, as a bit of light relief, maybe indulge in  some brilliantly-written historical novels, like those of the wonderful Edith Pargeter, who makes it all look so easy!

The importance of a synopsis

Like most writers, I hate writing synopses.  I find them hard and it's even harder to keep them down to a page of A4 while getting every...