So… it's the umpteenth time I've rewritten the first chapter for my lil pet project called Entity.
The novel starts off with the female protagonist's vivid experience trapped within a nightmare, right up to the point where she "dies" and awakens in reality, traumatized and distressed.
Initially I had the nightmare as a "Prologue" of sorts, separated from the first chapter at the exact moment she wakes up.
Given that the nightmare sequence comes out as just shy of 700 words ATM (this is barely even a manuscript yet mind you), I'm unsure whether there is any point in maintaining this as its own separate thing. The thing is, I'd much avoid drawing this nightmare sequence out, as it is in no way valid enough to be its own chapter (Yet. But in truth I doubt it ever will). All it does is set an interesting scene and the protagonist's mindset, which in turn gives hint to the conflict at hand.
There are numbers online that say the average chapter should be at least 2.5K words and up. Sure. But what about if you pair it with a Prologue though? (Not sure Prologue is the correct terminology, but that's what I've always called it).
Ofc, I acknowledge this is really something I shouldn't be concerned with right now, given that my story lacks its corporeal form, and barely resembles a fully intact skeleton of laid out ideas waiting to be fleshed out. At its peak, its structure was 2/3 sussed before I foolishly reviewed what I had written and decided that I really wasn't happy with a lot of the things that were churned out. ( This was way back when I just wrote for the hell of it, and didn't care for what was actually written).
So I… um… gutted it, and pretty much started again. And again. This has continued for a few years now. I eventually forced myself to consolidate these big ideas into a Novel Outline (At that point I was absolutely sick of jamming new things into the novel, which in turn made a number of other things incompatible. Kind of like pushing a nicer brick into a wall, but it dislodges three others out and messes up the whole entire wall). This Outline has allowed me to gut the ideas in the Outline, rather than mess up the story itself. A real convenience, one that I probably should of done at the very start tbh.
Anyway, so the novel is an absolute mess. I have the silhouetted idea of a novel in the back of my mind, rather than a novel itself. I have an idea of a start, an end, but no Act 3. I have chapters that have existed for several years, some that I have addressed post-conception of the Outline, others that I guess are pretty much now invalidated and outdated. Act 1 (may you rest in peace) has been sent to the slaughter so many times, carved up and partially re-fleshed, up until the point where I AGAIN didn't like how it read and forced it to endure Round Two, Three, etc.
I have folders within folders that'll make a Matryoshka doll look like a mere preschool toy. I have notes of old ideas and concepts entrapped on my old phone, that resemble an entirely different novel. No… three entirely different novels. I have current notes of ideas that span the novels that will follow, given this is to be a trilogy.
There is a straight up Wordpad file floating somewhere, with 13 chapters stuffed into it. There is a Word Doc of that said file, broken into Chapter headings and saturated with comments containing ideas.
Then there are individual Word docs of individual chapters, when I realized that this one mecha Word doc it was too big to handle by itself (slow to load, slow to save, would forget my place, be too distracted by one thing to flesh out another).
The best way to describe it is as Organised Chaos (but most definitely more of the latter).
Now, frustratingly, I am stuck screwing around with Prologue/Chptr 1. Writing has become less about creative fun and more a burden. What was once something I was passionate about, has quite literally become my very own nightmare.
I've essentially lost my motivation to write (and to do much else, since this is very much how I am at the moment, caught within the maelstorm that is my life, ffs).
And the real kicker?
I know this has the potential to become a real great story, complex and beautiful, tragic and oh so real (for a piece of fiction, that is). I see its potential, but I simply can't move past what it currently is.
When I describe it to people, their faces light up and they become so very intrigued. (Regardless of how messy I explain it.)
I don't know what I'm asking to be honest. Didn't mean for this to become a rant, but as things stand, its a love hate bond I have with my work.
Source: reddit post