Chapter three is strong. Chapter four is even stronger.
But chapter two... well, with a new chapter one, I had to toss chapter two to the dogs. It didn't make sense. For days, I have puttered around the house trying to come up with what I needed to do in chapter two. Oh, the mundane realities of what came next were easy, but as I sat down to write, I realized, 12 pages in... I had pertinent information, but nothing that advanced the plot.
I had too many new characters introduced, random conversations in the kitchen, detailed getting ready for bed rituals, even 800 words on how to cover a bruise with make-up.
So I needed to consider my objectives for the chapter and list my housekeeping items:
- acclimate the reader to the layout of Étienne's house
- foreshadow some of Étienne's relationship struggles
- develop a secondary character, but not ALL of them, not in the same chapter
- construct more of an identity for the deceased character
- have the characters find the secret sketchbook
At it's simplest, chapter one breaks down to this:
The main character heads to a bar, meets an old acquaintance who dated the now deceased character, has a hallucination and gets into a fight.
Chapter two now goes something like this:
Character goes home, has heart-to-heart with old friend/employee and in the morning, they pack deceased characters clothes until her parents arrive.
How can such simple things cause such pain?