Chapter 8 lumbers along

I continue to make halting progress on Chapter 8 of The Sleep of Reason. As I noted in an earlier post, I’m haunted by the memory of the words as I put them down in the lost version of this chapter. How did I say it before, and was it better than this draft? That alone is annoying, but the fact that I’ll never be able to answer such a question is worse.

But I soldier on. I found that I needed to go back to what I have already managed to complete of Chapter 8 to insert a set-up that I thought I could leave for the end of the chapter. The end of the chapter already has a big revelation it must provide, so the other little item would have been in the way there; thus I needed to slip it in a bit earlier. That’s fine. It works well enough there.

I’ve also begun the work of installing the “costume changes” for one of my supporting characters that I mentioned in another earlier post. So far, this has not proven difficult and the only challenge I’ve found is deciding when and where to have them take place.

Going back with this task in mind is also compelling me to re-read the earlier chapters more structurally, and it gives me the chance to identify how I can make the earlier words even more supportive of the later ones. My antagonist, for example, only appears in the story after nightfall. That’s an obvious metaphor, but I think I’ve used it subtly. The supporting character, the one who changes clothes, appears in both dark and light, and thematically, also appears in doorways, suggesting that she may be blocking the protagonist’s path or showing him the way out. These kinds of devices are more style than substance, of course, but they support the story telling, and I think I’m doing them covertly enough that they don’t get in the way.

The structural re-reading of the earlier chapters affords me the chance to reinforce these devices a bit. That’s gratifying, and it’s helping me with the slog through this Chapter 8 rewrite.

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