Beta Chapter

A chapter was ‘completed’ yesterday. It was one of five chapters in progress in this portion of telling the story. I often work like this, because events happen in parallel, or results from one chapter affect the others.

Finishing the chapter, I didn’t think of it as a first draft as much as I thought of it as an alpha version. Playing with that idea, I decided a chapter isn’t a draft until the whole novel is completed as a draft. Beta is better, because it’s pretty complete, but subject to other possible changes, unknown at the point of first completion, because I’m an organic writer, and I don’t know what else is going to happen. Things that happen later can often force changes to chapters and scenes already written.

Calling it beta is something that just came to be yesterday, stolen from the software development world. Once I completed that chapter, I walked around, mumbling to myself, “Now what? What comes next?” I had no idea. The chapter was done, a pivot point established, and I no clue where it was pivoting to. Yes, I know the book’s ending, and how the trilogy ends, but that’s like saying that you know what a country is like because you know the country’s shape.

Coming in to write this morning, I still didn’t know was to happen. Walking, I distracted myself by thinking of other things, like cryptocurrency and politics. Then pop –

Write this. This will demonstrate that. Then write this, and this, and this.

Suddenly I had a chain of beginnings and kernels of scenes. Computer fired up, coffee swallowed, I bent my head and typed streams of words. New alpha chapters were started. One of them reached beta. Even as I wrote them, I saw another pivot developing, but could not quite see how it all fit together. But, as I’ve learned, it’s best for me not to worry myself about it, but just to write to it. Writing to it will take carry me forward as needed. I don’t seem to consciously understand what’s happening, but on some sub-conscious level, the words and scenes are all known, like the book is already written somewhere else, and I’m just opening the pages and copying them.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But it works. I’ll take it.

It’s odd, but I want to keep writing because it’s been fun and productive, and I feel like I’m riding a terrific wave, yet, my writer’s sense is telling me to stop. So, I’ll acquiesce to that voice.

Great day of writing like crazy. Time to go eat lunch.

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