I got a good scare yesterday when I examined my hand-written manuscript of The Witch Box. Seeking to refresh my memory of the last few chapters of the book–up to some 50 chapters, in total–I found something I never expected to find.
There, floating around in the wake of everything else, was a Chapter 28. What? What was it doing there? Where did it belong? How did I ever wind up sticking it… there?
After a frantic search for answers, I found its duplicate snugly fitted between Chapters 27 and 29 in the typed manuscript. So now I had two Chapter 28s! Happily, they proved to be identical.
Here’s what happened.
Back in September, I had the book’s climax in my head but didn’t know how to get there. So I decided to do something I’d never done before: to jump ahead and write all the chapters leading up to the climax, all the way to the end of the book. I knew this would leave a hole that I’d have to fill later. But this part of the project took a long time; and when at last I was finished, I found the hole in the plot to be much smaller than I’d expected. That job belonged to Chapter 28. I’d thought I would have to write several chapters, but it turned out I only needed one to fill the hole.
Does that sound confusing? Well, it confused me–but good.
See, I got sick around New Year’s and I must have been sicker than I thought: because by the time I was well enough to resume writing, I had totally forgotten what I’d done! Now it makes me shudder, but yesterday it drove me crazy. I had already solved the problem, but forgotten that I’d done so. I’d already solved the problem–just couldn’t remember what I’d done.
I am greatly relieved!
So now I can go ahead and finish typing the book, praise the Lord. I still think it has a good chance to be my best book yet.