How Many Chapters?

Once you get a burst of inspiration, you need to find different ways of getting it down on paper from outlining to polished prose.

After my last mowing/brain-storming session, I wrote down a lot of the specific ideas in my Calyn notebook: encounters, events, scraps of dialogue.  After that, I moved onto a bit of outlining.   More little ideas popped up.  Some I had to dismiss.  After careful consideration, for example, I realized that Calyn wasn’t about to take another character into her confidence.  But she would need to later when she had absolutely no choice. A few seconds after that, I realized how to make things even worse for Calyn in the instant that she learned that she’d made the wrong choice through a lack of understanding.   

As a novelist, I only need to get one big idea every 18 months or so.  But each big idea has to be supported by literally thousands of smaller flashes of inspiration along with winnowing out the ideas that won’t work.  After a bit of outlining, I realized that I’d need at least four new chapters.

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