Monday, March 4, 2013

The Chapter 2 Wall

Thinking of shiny new ideas has never been one of my problems. Whenever a new shiny idea pops into my head I immediately write a really rough query for it and then one or two other paragraphs to capture details that aren't captured in the query. Then I write a first chapter and usually it's a really good first chapter (you know, for a first draft). 

I have this folder full of word documents on Dropbox that are all just queries and first chapters. 

But getting from that first chapter to the second chapter? Egad. It's not an easy task. 

And that's where I'm stuck right now. 

THE DESCENT OF CHRIS CHAPPELL has been set aside as I wait for feedback from my critique partners. In the meantime I should be in full first draft mode on one of my numerous shiny ideas. 

And yet, no matter how hard I try I can't make it past the second chapter. 

I keep bouncing back and forth between two ideas: XANDRA and LEX. Both are nicknamed after their MC's nicknames right now. LEX is a cool SF that takes place in the distant future on a colony world. It's a fairly new idea in my arsenal, one that's only had a word document to its name for about a year now. The idea for XANDRA on the other hand came to me back when I was in undergrad and has languished in my ideas folder ever since. It's a contemporary SF that I'm really excited about. I love the idea and the characters. 

Heck, I love the ideas and characters for both stories, and yet for some reason I can't make it past the second chapter on either. 

I wrote a second chapter for XANDRA and it's just terrible. I know when it comes to first drafts, nothing needs to be perfect, but this is soooooo terrible. It makes it hard to go on, because I feel like I'm derailing my set up somehow. Or like I'm completely missing the truth of one of my characters or something. 

With LEX, it wasn't the second chapter was terrible. It was just at the end of it I realized I was trying to right a dual POV story and it really needed to be one POV. So now I need to re-write the second chapter from Lex's POV. Which isn't a terrible task, I just find I have absolutely no motivation to do it.

So I have two shiny ideas, and I'm excited about the ideas, but every time I open either word document I just find there is this huge wall between me and the completion of the second chapter.

Surely I'm not the only writer who experiences this, so how about you guys? Do you ever experience a second chapter wall? How do you power through it? How do you keep going? 

1 comment:

  1. Yeah I have this problem too. Not necessarily in chapter two but usually toward the middle of my manuscript and it's usually because my subconscious knows something I don't. I'm stuck on a plot point and my brain is still working it out. As soon as I do it's usually smooth sailing again. Hang in there I'm sure you'll work through it :)