Work in Progress #9: Here to There

CNW Bagel ShopI finally finished my narrative outline for chapter 6 last week and sprinted through the actual writing of it. A confession: I cheated a bit!

There were supposed to be two major “points of focus,” two major events, that were to form the basis for the chapter. When I actually did the writing, the first of those two major events took up the entire chapter and I had to let the second event spill over into the next chapter. All of this might change when I reread the entire manuscript, but, for now, it just felt right to end 6 where I did.

I was exhilarated when I came to the end of the chapter but it’s left me to confront a draggy place that I call “Here to There” material. In any book, fiction or nonfiction, there are key foregrounded spots where important things take place. The Here to There material (from point A to point B or from age 40 to age 45 for example) is boring but necessary. It keeps the reader from feeling disoriented and wondering, “How in the world did we get here?” Or “How did the main character get to be this old?”

Here to There connectors need to be just long enough to comfortably transport the reader to the spot where you want her to be….and not a word longer. So they’re never long and drawn out, but they can take forever to write because there’s nothing particularly wonderful going on, nothing exciting happening (if there were, it wouldn’t be a Here to There section!) so the trick is to keep them from feeling utilitarian.

So just now, I’m Here, wanting to be There and hoping it doesn’t take me too long to arrive!