This weekend, I finished final edits on chapter 10 of my novel, and completed the initial draft of chapter 14. Here's how I did it:
First, I opened up a bunch of the files affiliated with the novel and read what I'd written yesterday, editing the infelicitous language and correcting typos. Then I consulted a bunch of notes I'd made about what was supposed to happen in chapter 14, and what has to follow in chapter 15. Then I ate some breakfast. Then I went over my notes some more. Then I noticed that a lot of the action in chapter 9, which I thought was finished final edits and all, seemed to flag, and didn't read particularly well, so I made some notes to go back and fix it. Then I made some notes about sprucing up the style later in the book, because chapter 10 was a little too turgid and plot-driven for my tastes. Then I had to make a big chart of a couple of subplots, because I didn't want to lose track of them. Then I read a Tom DeHaven novel for a couple of hours and thought about techniques I might want to crib. Then I had to look up some stuff about police procedures in an old textbook I had from college, so that a section of chapter 9 didn't come across as totally ridiculous. Then I realized that there were two ways I could end chapter 14, and that while both were plausible and even desirable, I had to make the decision, because how it ended would effect everything that would happen in the subsequent chapters, and it was a very tough decision to make, so I sat there staring at the screen for about an hour, and then went around doing other stuff while I thought about it. Finally I made a decision, and so I finished up chapter 14. Then I printed out chapters 10-12 so I could read them more easily and do the final edits. Reading them in the shower, I noticed that the whole section is a flagging plot line and there would need to be wholesale revisions, a prospect that totally depressed me because it would be a ton of work, so I just thought about that for a while. Then I did the final edits to chapter 9 again, and then read the first draft of chapter 14 to see how it looked.
This proves two things:
1. Either movies have lied to me (and that hardly seems likely), or I'm doing something wrong.
2. There is nothing -- nothing -- more boring than hearing someone talk about their writing.