Yesterday I talked about how I was having trouble writing the current chapter of my second draft. I wrote a page yesterday and I'm feeling much more inspired today, so hopefully I'll get the whole chapter done. The thing I love about blogging about these sort of problems is the comments and advice I get from other writers. Two of the comments on yesterday's blog really struck me, so I had to take a moment and actually consider it. They were asking if I needed this chapter at all. Since the next chapter, the one I was actually looking forward to, was so much more interesting, did I need this in between chapter at all?
My first response was, "of course I need it!" Immediately followed by, "wait...do I?" I was wondering if this chapter was one of those completely self-indulgent ones whose important points could probably be summed up in a few sentences. But then I really thought about it. I realized this chapter was necessary, and for a few different reasons. There is some important information about one character that is revealed in this chapter, as well as some symbolism being established that I continue throughout the book. There doesn't really seem to be another place in the novel to place this information.
The main reason, however, that this chapter exists, is to fool the reader. I realized the reason I'm so excited for the next chapter is that there is a big twist at the end--something the reader is never going to see coming. And that twist shatters the world that my characters have created. You know if something seems too good to be true, it probably is? That's basically what I'm doing with this current chapter. By the end, things seem perfect. My characters are happy. You'd probably be convinced that they've fallen in love at this point, even though they can't admit it. So the characters (and the readers) won't expect things to completely fall apart in the next chapter.
So maybe I'm just dying to get to the twist, but it can only be a twist if you don't see it coming.