Saturday, March 26, 2016

How I Write A Chapter

Bumming off of Katie Grace's thoughts on how she writes a blog post, I'm here to present to you:

~Step #1: What to Cover~

This isn't that hard. This is where I decide what needs to happen in a chapter. Because if I don't go in with goals . . . it'll just be a bunch of cool and pointless conversations between my favorite characters. Not that I mind, but it's not quite fair to the reader . . .

~Step #2: Outline- Optional~

Yep, you read that right. Outline- optional. I like to outline, I do. But sometimes it's better for me just to let the story go where it wants to as long as I weave in everything I needed to. I can't come up with anything besides the big picture until I actually get down into the story. So I'm half plotter, half pantser, just to make life complicated :)

~Step #3: Begin Writing~

Starting a chapter can sometimes be the hardest thing for me. Because I know where I'm going and how I finished last time. But where do I start? Gemma getting out of bed every morning gets redundant pretty fast ;) This is why I'm doing the March Challenge. I just have to write and see what happens.

~Step #4: Dry Spell~

This is a step I would love to be optional, and, trust me, it's unplanned. But every chapter, from the first to the nineteenth, has had at least one section that I just didn't know how to write. I don't know how to make it fit, or don't know what needs to come next. You name it, something will always throw me for a loop. 

~Step #5: Procrastinate~

Without a challenge breathing down back, forcing me to write every day, this is where I usually take three days off to "think" about what to do next. Or not. Sometimes just having a few days off does the trick. I don't usually come up with anything and end up forcing myself to sit down and give it another shot.

~Step #6: Keep Writing~

If I don't get back to it, there will never be a completed chapter and that would be awful. This is where I finally sit down, crest the hill, and go racing down to the bottom, aka: the end of my chapter. A very glorious moment, where it is deadly to interrupt my work. Deadly.

~Step #7: Research~

Since I hate being interrupted,  I can't even stand to interrupt myself. Stopping mid-sentence to go look up a definition or person's name can be catastrophic. I have come back from that Google search with my answer, but no clue where I was going with that thought one too many times. So I research the big blanks I left myself at this point.

~Step #8: Fill Plot Holes~

There's usually some crucial detail I remember at this point that has to be skillfully woven in. Not a huge deal . . . as long as I do remember. Something always slips my mind, but that's okay. That's why I have my faithful team of alphas.

~Step #9: Finally Finish~

Huge sigh of relief and sink back in my chair. By this point my eyes hurt, my wrists are jammed, and my brain is mush. But I finished. That's all that matters. Everything is just how I want it. Then comes the last minute details.

~Step #10: Read Over- Optional~

Hehe. Yeah, so sometimes I'm so weary of a chapter when I finish that I don't even want to see it for weeks. So I just forget about all the potential grammar bombs and plot holes and leave them to my trusty alpha team.

~Step #11: Share~

Aren't I a nice person? In all seriousness, though, sharing my work is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Ever. All the questions about how these people will react to my brain child run through my head. Or at least they did the first time. Now I have people I love and trust handling my work. And there is nothing quite so satisfying as sharing the love of your work with someone else :) It's the step that upgraded me from a scribbler to a writer.

~Step #12: Panic Attack~

It's amazing how every time, without fail, as soon as I click the share button and my chapter zips off to all my alphas' inboxes, something punches me in the stomach. This is where I scramble to add that little detail before they lay eyes upon it. But sometimes, when I really don't care, I just put it on my to-do list and move on. My apologies, dear alphas.


So there you have it. How I write a chapter. I hope you weren't bored out of your skull and are still reading ;) You are? Good for you! Let me know what you thought! And now I want to know how you write a chapter. Or blog post. Either one works for me :D Also ('cuz there always has to be an also), check out Tessa's great link-up idea! Have a lovely Easter!


  1. I love reading posts like this!!! It's so interesting and always gives me ideas. :)

    I don't really write in chapters. I just get all the words on paper in one big messy document. Then, as I do my first read-through edit (where most of the major plot changes take place), I divide the book into chapters. Though not perfect, this system has thus far worked for me better than what I've tried before, so I guess I'll stick with it! :)

    1. I'm so glad you found it interesting! I can see how it would be easier to get everything the way you want before dividing it up. Even though I find it helpful to give myself particular chapter goals, they often get too long, so I'm always shifting things :P

  2. I'm sooooo glad you included the steps "dry spell" and "procrastinate." And panic attack. If I had alphas, I'd probably be fainting. :P (okay, maaaaybe not.)

    BUT. THAT. PICTURE. ABOUT. THE. TRAIN. *hysterical laughing* I don't know if I should be disturbed but, EXTREME RELATABILITY ALERT. :P

    1. My awesome alphas are what keep me motivated! Haha, I'm so glad it was relatable :D That's exactly what I feel like EVERY time I get interrupted.

  3. The TRAIN! That's my thought exactly! Seriously, I'll write half of a sentence, come back the next day, and then finish it super lamely. Just like suuuuper lamely. I don't share my chapters, I use Google docs and they can read whenever. (by them I mean my partner and cousin, sometimes.)

    1. Ugh, I know. I have to leave myself notes everywhere when I stop in the middle of something. There is nothing so frustrating as coming back and having no idea what your brilliant plan was. Oh, I use GD, too! I actually type my chapters up on there and then share them with peeps. I love the comments factor!

    2. It's awesome! The comments are awesome!

  4. I think you could easily put in the word "book" or "story" instead of "chapter" and have everything still make sense. ;) I feel a lot of these same things while writing, but since my chapters are usually short I don't have as much trouble getting stuck in the middle. Oh it still happens, believe me, but usually my trouble comes BETWEEN chapters. :)
    It was nice to hear that I'm not the only one who finds mistakes AFTER sending off my book to editors. *sigh* WHY DOES WRITING HAVE TO BE SO DIFFUCULT!?!!? And why do the worst, or most embarrassing, mistakes come AFTER you send off your book to "the final edit"??
    Life isn't fair.
    In other words, to make a long comment short, thanks for the post! ;)

    1. Great to know, Rebekah. Don't worry, I occasionally get stuck between chapters, too :P Those who write will never understand how much we put into writing. It only comes off effortless ;)

      You're welcome!

  5. Is it bad that the "Dry Spell" bit is like, half of my writing career? :P
    Nice article though, it's always cool to see how others go about their writing. For me it depends on the story in question, for my big novel I tried to write a chapter a week and that worked out pretty well for me. I had an outline that I went with too, which was helpful for that novel keeping everything straight and orderly.

    1. Nah, we all go through it.

      Sounds a lot like what I do, Emily! Although, I must say that I havne't stuck to my outline nearly as well for the second half of my book, but it's coming right along with or without my plans!

  6. This is a pretty interesting post, and it sounds similar to my method for writing an entire story . . . but not a chapter. I don't really figure out chapters until I edit; I just write one ginormous mess of a manuscript and the closest I've got to chapters are different POV sections. But, hey, it works.

    1. That's great! I don't think I'd be brave enough to try that! I lose the dramatic endings to my chapters if I don't do them as I go along ;)

  7. This was such a neat, fun post to read! :D I never write stuff in 'chapters', I just write and divvy it up later. :P Thanks for sharing your way of it!

    1. Thanks, Faith! Another person who doesn't write in chapters. How interesting . . . ;)

      You're very welcome. I had lots of fun :D

  8. Oh, I loved reading through this!!
    That "train of thought" picture is SO TRUE! Oh goodness, seriously! If I remembered everything I originally wanted to be in a scene, it would be ten times better!
    I actually don't really write in chapters. I write in parts or scenes, and then "chapter it off" later. ;)
    And please, can somebody tell me why we see all our mistakes only AFTER we send our work?!?! I can go through my stories five times looking for mistakes, but as soon as I press send, a zillion things I missed suddenly become obvious. Augh. It's horrid. ;P
    Anyway, thanks for the post! ;) I loved reading it!

    1. I know. I'm even a note taker and I don't jot down all the brilliant ideas I have . . . oh well.

      I know. We have new eyes as soon as we press send. It's insane!

      I'm glad you liked it :D

  9. I like that you have a process, I tend to just lose myself in a mess of words.


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