Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Writing quirks

I am at the end of a critique on Being Human, the draft for that saved into its own file. I've ranted and raved about the roller coaster of emotions this has put me through on this blog and to a few friends. What might surprise you is what bugs me the most.

A few times Marni suggested I put in a break for a time lapse and another time she wondered why I put in a break that wasn't needed. This may not seem a big deal to you and in fact you might agree but let me tell you, it is to me. I have this thing about consistency with my chapters and I've touched on it but this will be a full blown rant. Not at anyone who suggested I put a break here or there mind you.

I am a bit OCD about chapter breaks and lengths to the point of near ridiculousness. It's not so bad that I can't have my chapters or breaks be different lengths but it's pretty damn close. It just rubs me the wrong way and I obsessive over it. I know I don't need to, a reader isn't going to look at my chapters and go, "OMG This chapter is shorter than the one before! This book SUXS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I know that but if I can't get my chapters or breaks to nearly all the same length I get a little nuts.

Example. In my short stories, Path of Angels the first three books go like this. Two chapters in one character's POV, two in another and then at the end it alternates chapters. When this first happened I was upset with switching to alternate chapters for character POV but I calmed on the second and third stories. Then I started on the last story. Right off the back, a few chapters in, I had to switch back to Michael's POV for three or four paragraphs at the end of the chapter. Then towards the end I had to abandon switching POV for a new chapter.

This is driving me nuts thinking about it as I write.

I won't change it, that's how the story works. But I still don't like it. I want consistency! When I write I'm constantly scrolling up to count pages of a chapter then tweek it to make it closer to the same length as the others.

 I have no idea why I feel this way. There is little else I'm OCD about. Writing lists perhaps, when I cross off too many items on a list I tend to rewrite it so it looks neat again. But I'm not making sure everything else in my life is spaced the same. My blog posts aren't spaced the same... Although I do get the same OCD about putting a jump break in so you have to click read more on the main page. That bugs me as much as chapter and breaks and I do scan over my blog and play with where I place jump breaks constantly.

I think someone needs to tell me there are worse things I could obsess over.


  1. a story is a puzzle each piece has it own shape but they may have the same size and weight the end is a beautiful picture. just keep writing
    love you god bless

  2. There are worse things you could obsess over ;)

    The only thing I don't like about chapter length is when one chapter is ridiculously long... because when I get to the end of a chapter (when reading), the first thing I do is see how long the next one is... and if it's too long, I put the book down. If it's short, I think to myself "I'll just read one more chapter."

  3. Thanks Austin. =)
    I don't like chapters that are less than a page. James Patterson did it in Maximum Ride and it drove me crazy!

  4. I think chapter length needs to be assessed on what is best flow for the story and is everything needed that is in that chapter. I know you personally need them to be the same, but sometimes it just doesn't work that way. You need to look to see if it is having any effect. Some of my chapters are longer than the others and it's all about the up and down and pace of the novel.

    I can only imagine how difficult it would be for you to get out if this, but just ask yourself the question, is it required for the story for the chapters to be the same story and if the answer is yes, then that's great. If it's no, I imagine you have some personal work and trouble to get through and past a desire that you have to make them so.

    For me it's about letting the story flow.

  5. Rebecca has already said what i wanted to say, and said it much better than I could have. Sometimes you and your story want two different things, and that is creatively a fortunate yet challenging situation to have.

    So I'll settle for sending you a large virtual* hug * and best wishes for having the whole thing sorted out soon.

    Daily (w)rite

  6. Rebecca, Damyanti, yeah, it's all me. It's my quirk and I can write chapters that are different lengths.... they just get on my nerves in a way that really doesn't matter.