Saturday, April 3, 2010

C is for Chapter Headings, Cats and Contests

MJ and I recently went on vacation in FL. The crazy part was, we drove. We drove from Virginia to Florida, which is about fourteen hours, each way. After looking at the cost of flights + rental car, it seemed like a good idea. Around hour thirteen, it seemed like a terrible idea.

But anyway, as I was taking one of my turns driving, MJ looked at the copy of Shards of Glass I'd left on the dash. Since I am pretty much addicted to feedback, I kept glancing away from the highway to see what he thought.

"Do you know you've got two chapter fours here?"

"Are you freaking kidding me?" was my instant response.  "I just went through as part of my revisions to verify that all the chapter headings were right."  (In the first draft, I'd eventually given up on chapter headings and then, as fatigue set in, chapters at all, but that's what edits are for)

"Why number your chapters at all?" MJ asked.

"Because... chapters get numbered."

"You don't have to number them. You could just leave your headings instead."

Anarchy, I say. Anarchy.  Right now, Shards of Glass has chapters labeled like this:

Chapter Two: On A Red Balloon
Chapter Three: Nick At Home
Chapter Four: Meanwhile, Across Town...
Chapter Five: Broken Things

The Goddess of Vengeance, on the other hand, gets plain chapter headings.  Chapter One. Chapter Two.

I'm currently reading Jodi Picoult's House Rules: A Novel, and she doesn't do traditional chapter headings, either. She has chapters, written from the POV of different protoganists, and so the chapters are labeled purely by who is speaking: Theo. Emma. Rich. Jacob.

How do you organize your chapters? Is there anything you like to see chapter-wise when you read?

On to cats, as promised by the title. When we were on vacation in FL, we went to the awesome Big Cat Rescue in Tampa. The preserve houses big cats that were rescued from bad zoos, circuses and private owners.  Did you know that there are more big cats in Texas than in India, because so many people try to make this gorgeous wild animals into pets?  They're often misused and mistreated, especially as they grow out of kitten stage and become extremely dangerous.  There's a beautiful tiger at the park that was rescued as a cub from a cage so small he couldn't stand and his back legs were emaciated, his fur sticking out of the cage.  Two panthers who were kept in a zoo basement for a year without sunlight because no one was interested in viewing the older cats.  And so many other animals who were abused by humans who should have protected and cared for them.

For Easter, I'm trying to embed this fun video of some of those cats -- now with a happy home and loving caretakers -- enjoying extra-large "Easter Eggs":

This is also Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, and you can find ways to help at the SPCA website here. Sorry for the shameless plugs, but it breaks my heart the way some people treat big AND small cats. Both websites have ways you have can promote awareness and help cats even without donating money.  My kitties give me so much joy, and so do the beautiful wild cats that should be free in their native countries!

These are our two adorable foster cats from the SPCA, waiting on their forever home (and in this photo, really fascinated by falling snow!)
What are you passionate about besides writing? I have a million interests, but my two passions are writing and animals.

Last of all, CONTESTS!

Christine Danek is having a pretty amazing 100 Follower Contest, giving away prints and books as prizes!

Shannon is celebrating signing with an agent by giving away six different books to six winners!


Jen said...

Love the cats!!! Sounds like you guys had fun in Florida!!

Lynn Colt said...

I number my chapters, without giving them headings. I do like the Jodi Picoult-style of character name for the chapter heading when there are multiple POV characters. It's a simple way to keep straight who's talking.

I just don't understand people who mistreat animals. My bf and I have two rescue cats, and though they sometimes drive me crazy (one is a pretty active kitten) they make me smile and laugh every day :)

Krystal said...

Oh wow, I *live* in Tampa! I hope you had a great trip.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

I'm numbering my chapters for now. I don't think I'll name them; it just doesn't seem appropriate for this project. I agree with you, though. Even if you name the chapters, numbering them helps maintain order -- and the ability to re-order them -- while it's still in draft form.

My other passions are: painting, quilt making, cooking and baking. Oh, and traveling. And reading... Yikes, the list is getting long! LOL

Have a great Easter!

Wanda said...

As a reader, it doesn't really matter to me if the chapters are numbered.

Summer said...

I just do the Chapter 1, etc. or I do the number underlined.

Animals are my other passion too. I work at an animal shelter, and just in 2 years I've seen enough cruelty to last two lifetimes. I support ASPCA and WWF, plus Humane Society of America. All near and dear to my heart. And I'm glad to see that you foster. We don't have nearly enough people for our shelter to foster cats.


What a wonderful write. I love cats, well all animals really but used to have a cat, had her for 14 yrs, when she was 10 she was diagnosed with dibetes and I injected her twice daily.

Your post did the challenge justice , thanks for sharing.


Kelsey said...

You have such beautiful cats! :)

Kittie Howard said...

I ADORE cats, melt into a puddle of sighs when a kitten looks up at me. I simply cannot understand how a human being could mistreat an animal, any animal. But they do, unfortunately. So, please blog on about the SPCA ... I guess I'm kinda muted inside because I care so much for animals and can't understand how, even if others don't, how they could harm an innocent creature.

Shelley Sly said...

Awww I love kitties! How sweet that you're fostering them.

I don't have a set way in terms of chapters. My first version of my first novel had number chapters; my second novel had headings ("The Interview" for instance); my rewrite of Book #1 now has character names, due to multiple POV. I guess I'm all across the board with this one!

disobedientwriter said...

My chapters are numbered. I never thought to mix it up, to tell you the truth. It just helps me know where I am as writer.

As for passions, I think writing is my biggest, but I love beach & water activities, too. I don't get a whole of free time, so I try to use it mostly for reading/writing/blogging.

Your Easter video was funny :)

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

I tend to not do chapters in most of my stuff. My one WIP switches between 4 view points, so there are breaks for every time it changes. Eventually I plan to break it into chapters. I think. But having 2 chapter 4s is SO something that I would do!