End Game

The past few weeks I’ve really been in a motivated state. Although I’m working full time as a house painter, I still spend most of my evening hours writing and reading. It’s a life-style I enjoy. Doris even called me a scholar ? the other day.

At least three nights during the week I go to the coffee shop for a few hours to work on Josie ?. And this weekend I spent a couple of hours on Saturday with the manuscript. I found an empty classroom at Naropa Boulder and spread the pages out on the floor.

I arranged each consecutive chapter in two different rows according to the two different time-lines in the story. The first time-line, where the novel starts, is post-college. The second time-line is pre-college and goes up to the narrator’s freshman year.

In my mind I imagine the time-lines as two rivers flowing together, mixing together. And seeing each chapter arranged on the floor was very helpful. I made some changes in chapter order that might require a several more hours of re-writing.

Also, I noticed that in the beginning of the book I alternate each chapter between the two time-lines but the last six chapters of the book are all one single time-line. So I am going to look at those final chapters again, using some of what I’ve learned in writing longer short stories. The beginning of the book is strong. If I can make the ending just as strong, I’ll be very confident about getting it published.

I’m also reading a lot. I’m in the middle of The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. This is a great book! Marvelous! Yes, it is. (I’ll say more when I actually finish it. But so far it has brought me close to tears several times and made me laugh out loud even more.)

I recently finished A Thousand Years of Non-Linear History by Manuel De Landa and Writing for Comics by Alan Moore. I’ll be posting some reviews of both of those soon.

Moore’s book gave me an idea for Josie ? that I’m implementing now. In his essay on Reaching the Reader: Structure, Pacing, Story Telling he talks about transitions in comics, that is going from one scene to another. He mentions several different techniques such as overlapping dialogue, synchronizing images, and coincidental links. His examples are especially geared toward a visual medium like comics (and borrows heavily from cinema). But I think I can adapt the principle to a literary form. And it may help in the transitions between alternating time-lines.

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