I seem to be making something of a habit of skipping over difficult chapters and continuing on with the intention of coming back to them. I did that last year during NaNoWriMo because I had to write about a hurricane hitting an inland town that had probably never seen a hurricane. I wasn’t about to take time out for research during NaNo, so I finished the month with almost 70,000 words, but with a crucial chapter missing. I finally got around to doing the research a couple of months ago, and the chapter is partly written.
This year, I ran into another roadblock. That chapter arrived after NaNo and my delayed win, and involves an act of violence that determines most of what happens in the following chapters. I don’t know why I’ve been so reluctant to write it, and even without it, I managed to write the next two chapters. At the moment, I’m about 100 words away from having to do the deed, having crept up to it, line by line over the past few days.
I’ve learned that if I know exactly what’s going to happen in that missing chapter, it’s okay to procrastinate. But when it’s a chapter that can go any one of several different ways, the cost of delay can mean having to do a major rewrite of later chapters. Has that happened to me? Yes, and I can tell you it’s not fun. Will I do it again? Probably.