Beth Miller

Writing and tea


In praise of Chapter 22

Posted on June 14, 2010 at 2:15 PM

The sun is shining, but I am indoors, blinds down, wrestling with Chapter 22.


We've been through a lot together, Chap 22 and I. There was the time I decided, for no good reason, that it would appear in the third person. My, how we (she, he) laughed. And that other time, when I chose it, against its better judgement, to host a climactic scene: an argument so massive it would change everyone's lives. Appalling novel device disclaimer - this was in a very early draft. Perhaps around draft 86.


I was a bit scared of actually writing down this monumental row, partly because it was full of unaccountable emotion, but mainly because I wasn't quite sure what it consisted of. So I put three stars to indicate that something major had happened, and skipped the crucial bit. That made it considerably easier to write - it only took a few minutes - but on the negative side, more than one of my readers didn't realise a fight was meant to have occurred at all. Thus the rest of the story made no sense whatsoever.


Chapter 22 and I have of late reached an understanding. In its current, and I hope final incarnation, it showcases the only time in the novel that we hear from the grown-up Miffy. Even I, with my obsessive re-writing disorder, can see that it's all starting to come together.

And I guess that's why I am stalling. I'm not sure I'm ready to let go of dear, kind Chap 22. It's so much more forgiving than that stuck up Chapter 14, or mean Chapter 9. But I need to move on. And so does the story.

Categories: Novel