Today, you get the treat of two blog posts instead of one, which is another way of saying I did not manage to post yesterday as planned. Still, the extra day gave me time to see that a temporary real-life caused downturn in my word count was not a sign of impending doom. My cushion has shrunk to about a day, but at least I still have one…something that was in doubt as late as yesterday.
Beyond my NaNo struggles, I thought I’d talk about something amusing. When I wrote Secrets, the first release had titles for every chapter. While some of these were fun and really worked, others brought little to the table. It was as though I had to come up with 30-50 titles for each book, but worse than that, I had to either make each scene its own chapter or come up with a chapter title that comfortably represented both scenes all without spoilers.
In Secrets, that wasn’t as difficult as you might think, because it tells two separate (though interacting) stories. Once Threats came into being, however, the interactions become much more frequent and overlapping to the point that very few of the scene titles did what I wanted them to. I had to make a decision, and I chose to eliminate chapter titles in favor of focusing on the story. I couldn’t put anything important in the titles because not everyone would read them, I didn’t want to use teasers that would give away what came next, and between those two issues, the chapter titles were more trouble than any value they offered.
However, I write using a program called Scrivener. It’s a well-designed, lightweight writing program that allows me to focus on the writing while putting my world building and story outline in easy reach. It also encourages me to title the scenes, not with fancy, publication-ready titles, but with something that will remind me of the main issue or theme, and sometimes just a flippant way to identify where it falls in the story in case I accidentally reorder something (easy to do when working on a touchscreen device).
I thought it might be fun to show you some of these interim titles. I did choose only ones that contained no spoilers, and yet, you should be able to tell how they might be useful. Really, though, I’m hoping to provoke a chuckle or two. So, for your reading pleasure, here are some examples of my scene titles (and aren’t you happy now that I don’t clutter the story with these gems?).
The Morning After
Henry Breaks His Silence
The Butler didn’t do it.
A Lesson in Generosity
(My newsletter readers received this final scene as an raw draft excerpt in my most recent monthly newsletter.)
Now you can spend your time trying to decide what each scene is about, or you could share some of your own interim titles if you have any. If there are chapter titles, do you read them? Or are you one of those who skips right over?
One more NaNo comment before the stats: Traps and Treachery (the first novel of my NaNo plans) is not done yet with eight written scene blurbs remaining that likely will spawn at least two more. However, it stands at 65k, the supposed length of the book. Either during edits I’ll have more scenes from the cutting room floor to share, or I’ll have to accept this one will be a bit longer than the previous books.
If you’re just joining in, you can easily read all the posts about NaNo 2017.