So, I had another not-so-original epiphany today. I've only completed one novel to date and it was hard going. I think it was so hard because I had no clear division in the story, other than scene-to-scene. Today the thought occurred to me that it might be easier to get through that first draft if I wrote by chapter, instead of by scene.
I know this is nothing new to the writing community in general, but I've never tried it before. Not only did I not write by chapter in my first book, but I didn't write chronologically either; I literally wrote scenes in random order as they developed in my imagination. This is NOT a good writing strategy: you have to figure out where each scene fits best, reconcile slight differences in plot or detail, and then go back and figure out where chapter breaks should go. It's a nightmare! So, I'm going to take a leaf out of the books of several writers and create a new Word doc for each chapter (incidentally, it was my good friend Shallee that got me thinking about this suggestion again, if in a round-about way; she mentioned doing more intensive outlining in her post the other day).
Now, here's the (hopefully) brilliant part of my epiphany: the way to make each chapter more fun to read (and write) is to structure each one as a complete mini-story as much as possible. What I mean is try to make every chapter have a clear conflict and plot structure of its own. That way, in addition to supporting or advancing the overarching plot, each chapter helps keep the readers attention/interest and gives the reader mini-doses of the reaction he/she gets from an entire book. If I can make this work, it will make my writing infinitely more interesting.
Now, I'm sure it's going to be about 8 billion times harder than it sounds, and will require a heck of a lot of outlining (again, thank you, Shallee), so I hope you all will be sending good vibes my way.
What do you like to do to make each chapter interesting and engaging?