Saturday, January 17, 2009

The following are my comments on a post in the Reach Reader forum dealing with Chapter 1:

On David's voice: I really don't spend hours scrolling through the thesaurus injecting large words into David's narrative, but he does have a tendency to always choose the best and most accurate word to convey his exact meaning. Most people can get by with saying that something is 'tiny' and adding emphasis with facial expressions and gestures. Since David has little aptitude for recognizing nonverbal cues, he relies more heavily on his ability to retain a large vocabulary. So your 'tiny' would be his 'minuscule'. For my part, it's actually more of an effort to keep large or obscure words out of Claire's chapters. I frequently catch myself trying to slide a David-esque sentence into Claire's internal dialog.

On chapter length: the chapters are running about 3,000-3,500 words each. That is very short. I'm not sure if they will continue to remain the same length or not as the story elements begin to gather complexity. That remains to be seen. The reason that the opening chapters have been so short is that I'm trying to get to the crux of the story as early as possible. Nobody likes slogging through 50 pages of backstory and setup. Also, I wanted the first few perspective switches to be snappy. I wanted to end Chapter 1 on a mini cliffhanger and switch directly into Claire's rather workaday morning for the pure joy of the juxtaposition. In this way (I hope) we can get the initial jolt of the concept of having dual narrators out of our systems early on.

On David's current age: I wanted it to be a bit of a mystery to add a few barbs into my hook, so to speak. So you don't get to know David's age until Chapter 2, and even then if you're not paying close attention it may slip right past without notice. But it's in there, and I've added more emphasis to it in my revision, which hasn't been posted yet. In chapter 2, David states that he turned 18 in the previous June, and as the story is taking place in the fall, specifically early October, that would make him 18 and a half. Though the corpus callosum line is a bit jarring, I've left it in to demonstrate David's early fascination with the brain, though he hasn't much familiarity with its study. And yes, I added in the human anatomy class specifically to justify the later use of corpus callosum. Referencing "Office Space" was meant to be a place-holder phrase that I intended to fix in a later edit, but it ended up staying because I couldn't come up with anything when I was making the last editing pass. I'll fix it in later revisions.

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