Well, the relocation of chapter one of Tapper into the content of a later chapter was a guarded success. I say “guarded” because no one on Scribophile has critiqued my efforts yet. It took some doing, as we say in this part of the country, and it wound up creating a new problem—specifically, extra chapters.
I’ve already renumbered my chapters once. What used to be a 28-chapter work turned into a 30-chapter work (shorter than the 28-chapter version, believe it or not). However, the relocation of the original chapter one text into its new home (what was chapter eight) meant that I now had a chapter that was way too long. As in approaching 6,000 words long. There was only one solution: split it into two chapters.
I’d already done that with what was chapter five in the new 30-chapter order, mainly because I’d received feedback that one particular spot in an already long chapter (around 5,000 words) would work better as a “hook” to get the reader to turn the page and continue reading. I therefore had a chapter 5A and a chapter 5B. With the chapter one move and split, I now also had a chapter 8A and 8B. While that works just fine with Windows 10 filenames, it does not work with actual chapter numbers, especially as posted on Scribophile. There’s no provision for letters in the chapter names there—just part numbers.
Some background info on Scribophile—there’s a guideline that chapters should not exceed 3,000 words, or at least not by much. Anything significantly longer is supposed to be split into two parts. As a result, almost every chapter of the 30-chapter version was divided into part one and part two in my original postings. However, the leader of the Ubergroup received special dispensation for group members to post longer chapters to bypass the chapter splitting guideline.
To make a long story short, I had to go back into my LibreOffice documents, renumber every chapter, then put the longer versions up on Scribophile as single units. Renumbering the LibreOffice docs was easy enough, but there’s no easy way to renumber things on Scribophile, especially when you’re trying to get rid of chapter splits. I could delete the split chapters, but that’d mean I’d lose all of the critiques I received on the splits. I’d also lose potential critique spots (you get six for every post, and I had a bunch with only one critique spot left).
In the end, I had to haul out a spreadsheet to track what got consolidated, how they related to the now-32-chapter-long work, and note which Scribophile sub-chapters I’d renumbered and moved out of the main spotlight. It took almost two days to get the renumbering task done, and I still haven’t posted all of the draft number eight chapters in their correct spots (I’m only up to rewriting chapter 14 as I write this entry).
I don’t know if I could have planned this any better. Honestly, I don’t think I could, since the Ubergroup length exception went into effect while I was working on my music project. I guess the moral of this story is that you should be ready to make major changes to all parts of your novel—chapter numbering included—if you are serious about getting it published.
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