The Edge of Death: Update #4

The Edge of Death has been unchanged all summer, still sitting at just over 67,000 words. Why? Because I’m cursed!

I’ve come to notice a pattern with everything I write. No matter how long the story is, what genre it sits in, how well or poorly the writing is coming along, I always manage to find myself staling out, stuck, unable to write a word every time I hit chapter nine.

Is it because the ninth chapter has always ended the proverbial part one? That’s how I tend to structure my stories when I’m trying to get the first part written. A story in three parts, a beginning, rising, and falling action.

But how can that be? I’ve taken on each project differently. The Edge of Death is the only one I’ve written an outline for. I know everything. All that’s left is to write it out like a story, and yet I’ve still fallen into the dark pit with spikes at the bottom that is chapter nine.

Every time. I’m not kidding. Everything I have that has made it to a ninth chapter has either stopped there or has stopped a few chapters later only after struggling with chapter nine for so long that it made it seem like I had been working on that story for years with nothing to show for it, which is exactly what ends up happening.

I don’t know how to fix this. I’ve been staring at this chapter for ages! Well, since April of 2020. Do I just push through it and accept whatever words manage to find themselves at home on the page? Do I omit chapter nine altogether and move on to chapter ten? Do I continue to stare at my computer screen hoping to get something better than vomit words on a page?

  • 2018 Concept and writing started.

  • National Novel Writing Month 2018 : The bulk of the writing began.

  • 2019 The writing continued after working on other projects.

  • 2020 The writing continued in earnest.

  • 2020. April. Chapter 9 reared its ugly head and I am cursed!

How did I get through writing the few other stories I have a completed first drafts for? I have no idea, but the fact that those drafts are completely unreadable. Unreadable in a way that I have read over them, taken exhaustive notes, and have tried to write draft two for years and years ought to tell you something. Those stories are dead in the water (for now).

I don’t know what the answer is. But I do know I’m tired of not writing. I’ve even looked into trying to continue some of the other stories I have going, but I can’t focus on those because I need to be writing this one.

What is is about the ninth chapter? Why do I always find myself unable to string the ideas together? I want to be done with part one and move on to the rest of the story. I know everything that’s going to happen, remember? Part two is good and part three is my favorite, particularly the ending, but I can’t write out of order. I just can’t. The writing process doesn’t work that way for me. I’m a chronological writer and without chapter nine the rest of the story might as well not exist, because in the way that matters most, it doesn’t.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know why I’m telling you I have a chapter nine curse.

But I have not written anything new. At this rate this story will be done by the time i’m ninety. (See what I did there? Okay, that was a terrible joke.) And I’m completely cursed. The ninth chapter is my arch-nemesis and this is the story in which the villain defeats the hero.

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