An Inside Look at Revision: The Power of Chapter Breaks

Aubrey: Remnants of Transformation is available on Amazon and Smashwords. With every chapter, I posted notes about the process of revision.

Chapter 11
Portrait of Sofia Apraksina*

As I mentioned in my last post, Chapter 10 eventually became Chapters 10 and 11.

I was delivering far too much information in the original Chapter 10--to wit, it is now summer; Aubrey and her family are in Sommervillle; her fangs have returned; she reflects on her "lost months" (the time she was transformed); her family moves on to Kingston; Aubrey's claws come back; her brother Richard warns her to stay away from the police; that warning coupled with other clues peaks Aubrey's interest; she goes out shopping with her friend Olivia and overhears ladies gossiping about her "lost months"; they mention the police; Aubrey decides to visit the police.

*Whew.* No way that is one Act!

This series of events definitely merited a chapter break. Chapter breaks are nice; like paragraph breaks, they denote a change in topic and tone. And they can recapture/refocus the reader's attention. In the last few years, I've notice more and more writers using chapter breaks not to denote X number of pages have been covered but to denote Hey, people, it's time to shift scenes.

How much are we the product of visual culture?

That type of question is usually followed by a bemoaning of visual culture--but me, I like short chapters!

The other new new revision to Chapter 11 is how Aubrey learns new information. It comes back to the problem addressed with Chapter 5, Who Knows What. Would a character blithely stumble across important information? Why? From whom would that important information come? Why would it be allowed to slip?

*This may or may not be the portrait of a Russian countess who may or may not have been related to Leo Tolstoy. She is not Sophia Tolstoy (Leo Tolstoy's wife). The portrait is too early. Whatever its origins, I chose it for the woman's direct, inquiring gaze.

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