Thursday, November 27, 2008

Chapter 4 Begun

I haven't sewn up David's chapter 3, yet, but I had a sudden burst of inspiration last night and had to begin Claire's Chapter 4 right then and there. So I wrote the intro to Chap 4 by hand with pencil and paper last night from my bed as I didn't feel like booting the computer again. I hate writing by hand as I type much faster; and half the time my handwriting is so illegible that when I go to transcribe it, I spend most of my time deciphering instead of typing. Tomorrow, though, my new Netbook will arrive and I opted for a sleek Acer Aspire One running a light Linux operating system that will boot from power on in under 30 seconds. So when those sudden bursts of writerly inspiration hit me, I've got just enough computing power at my command nearly instantly. I'm really excited about this new tool!

So tonight I'm going to type out and edit Claire's chapter 4 and dovetail it with some material I wrote awhile back for inclusion at the end of Claire's Chapter 2 but ended up cutting to aid the perspective switch. The new order of things will gel nicely, I think, and I was really excited about what I wrote last night because it parallels with David's narrative in fresh and subtle ways. They both have a reason to tool around on a chalkboard, for instance, which is interesting as most of us do not find occasion to ever write with real chalk anymore since the rise of the hypoallergenic dry erase marker. One of my favorite aspects of alternating first person narrative is the opportunity to find disparities in perception of a single event and parallels in divergent experiences. I often surprise myself by the clever tricks I come up with to tie stories together, and I've been enjoying this aspect of my POV choice even though it's incredibly challenging in many other ways.

Having Elizabeth (David's mother) come for a visit was beginning to feel like a mistake and I was just about to despair of Chapter 3 ever 'working' and toss it in favor of a sans Elizabeth re-write, but when she connected up with Claire last night, things started falling into place. David just doesn't interact with people very well, and this causes me to dread having to write him in company with others. I was also finding it hard to allow Elizabeth to express herself properly because David is incapable of true insight into another human being. But I did find a concrete way for her to show her concern for David, I just haven't written it yet.

Also, I thought up (but did not write) my ending last night. I've had an image in my mind for about a month now that I've come to internally identify as the cover art for Project Reach. I never expected it to be anything more than metaphoric, but it suddenly became real and worked its way into the story. It's a very strong visual and nicely ties David and Claire's unique stories together in one simple image.

Also, I've been pondering heavily what David should eventually settle on for his dissertation research. I know that Dr. Feigner, David's main adviser, did his dissertation on the effects of different stress reduction tools on the human brain (hence his impressive collection of stress balls) and it would only seem natural for David to build on this. And it would fit seamlessly with David's interest in neurochemistry as well as his fascination with Claire, whose life is spent among foods of the comforting variety. Studying the effects of so-called comfort foods on stressed individuals is a worthy line of study that would have possible implications in obesity research as well. It would also give me the perfect excuse to use the above-mentioned cover image and one of my contender titles, The Comfort Foods Cure (which is, incidentally, a line I stole from one of my favorite poetic works). But I am highly averse to allowing a title to inform the story, as opposed to the reverse. I had originally wanted David to study the neurochemistry of love, but I now think I may have been trying to force David into a study of love, a choice I doubt he would have made on his own. Additionally, David, as a grad student, is certainly no stranger to stress. The study of comfort foods is much more natural for David than a study of the chemical processes of romantic love.

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