Dealing with rough spots

Well, last Thursday I decided to print out the first three chapters of The Christmas Bargain and start working the book on paper. You get a very different feel between reading on a computer screen and reading on paper. Usually I wait until the polishing stage to print pages out because I tend to rework my prose a lot, rearranging sentences, etc., and like to be down to tweaking a word or two here and there before I work on paper.

What else a paper format gives me is a better sense of continuity and flow of the book as a whole instead of individual sentences. I was pretty confident about the first chapter, and the third chapter (because it didn't see a huge rewrite), but chapter two saw the most change and it has caused me the most trouble in the past because my characterizations went awry.

Sure enough, I breezed through chapter one and got completely stalled on two. I put the pages down with this sick sense that something wasn't working. The tone I'd had earlier wasn't there. The scene involves the characters arguing over the heroine joining the hero for Christmas as his pretend fiancee. Why the scene didn't work didn't jump out at me right away. After sleeping on it, I realized that my attempts to maintain the sexual tension were causing him to be too over the top.

To fix it, I took out a few spots where he's coming on to her and left her reactions to him intact. The sexual tension is there, but he's not causing her to feel uncomfortable, what's going on inside her is where the trouble originates. And his behavior is more true to how he behaves in the rest of the book. Earnest, charming, but a bit of a scoundrel. Instead of the oversexed dude I'd turned him into.

Needless to say, I'm happier with the chapter. Which is a relief, because I often worry about my second and third chapters not being as strong as my first. I'm crossing my fingers that this has changed.

What happens to you when things aren't really working? Do you get stalled? Do you move on to something else? How do you get past the rough spots?

Today's goal: Finish on paper revisions through chapter 3
Yesterday's accomplishment: I brainstormed a novella for the Nocturne Bites pitch
What I'm grateful for: 2 weeks to my Chicago trip!!
Quote: "I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers." -Kahlil Gibran (1883 - 1931)