Thursday, July 17, 2014
Misty Cove Chronicles, Vol. 1
First in a series of three.
by Nikki Leigh
Days before her wedding, in October 1841, Lizbeth climbs to the widows walk atop her home, with her fiancé. They search the dark and stormy horizon for her father's fishing boat and Lizbeth notices the darkened lighthouse on the point. In such a violent storm, her father and the other men from Misty Cove need the lighthouse to guide their boats safely into harbor. In the morning and the lighthouse lamps shine out, but it's too late. Death had come in the stormy night and the community is devastated by loss. Is love enough for Lizbeth to overcome the needless death of her father? Mourning and an investigation into the light's failure delay the wedding. When, at last, Lizbeth and William pledge their love, will they find happiness?
Question from the E-mail: How do you plan your chapters? Or essentially, how do you know where you want a chapter to end and a new one to begin?
Answer: Jenny, I don't plan anything. Many writers do plan everything before they ever start a story. They know where and when scenes will take place, who will be there, and what folks will tell one another, but not the exact words of the story.
I never divide my book into chapters until it is finished. I just write the story all in one big file. I also never pad the story to make it a certain length and I don’t advise you to do that either. Just write your story one scene at a time. While I'm writing one scene, I usually know what will happen in the next, but I don't force myself to go any farther than that, as if I do, I will surely lose my thread.
Then go on to the next and the next and so on, always following the action. Some scenes will be only a few paragraphs. Some will be several pages long. Mine average about five pages. Though they can be less than one and up to nine. If a scene runs more than nine pages, I know I’ve lost track of something. Once the story is finished, I go back and put chapter headings in at scene breaks at about 10 to 15 page intervals.
If I want a three chapter sample, I can go and do that at the beginning of the book and copy those pages into a separate file called sample, and so on. But I don’t like to break the story up until it is pretty well finished.
The reason is that quite often I find I need to insert scenes in places I had not anticipated. For instance: in Ghost Dancer, I had no plans for the main character's sister, Elaine, to come west. She was only to be mentioned as a reason for Christy’s leaving home.
Then I wrote a scene and Elaine walked in, saying, “I’ve had a perfectly miserable trip!”
I wrote her out, but she kept coming back IN. So THEN I had to go back and do the foreshadowing. I wrote in a scene where Elaine found out a secret and left home, and another scene to show the perfectly horrible trip, so when she showed up on the train, the reader was ready for her – and not as Mouth-Wide-Open shocked as the other characters and I were to see her there.