Chapter 18 emerges

After much too long away, I have resumed work on The Sleep of Reason, making a fine start on Chapter 18. It is an aftermath chapter, the (false) climax of the story having come in Chapter 17. So I’m figuratively cleaning up the details (just as my protagonist is literally doing the same) and setting the stage for the few chapters of the story remaining.

I began the chapter with a little creative flourish. It’s in keeping with the protagonist’s state of mind, and I did do some similar work in earlier chapters, but it is a tiny bit out of tone with the story as it has been narrated thus far. I think it fits though, and I’m going to go with it for now. (It is also similar to how I intend to write the first chapter of my next novel, so I’m happy for the chance to give it a try.)

I’ve managed to write 1,100 words, and it sets the chapter into motion while fully closing the events of the preceding chapter (though the protagonist is never freed of them). I also managed to bring in a very suitable reference to an earlier character who had played his part and departed the tale many chapters ago. I like this kind of efficient use of such things, giving them more purpose and meaning than merely their initial function. I also think it lends a sort of comprehensive coherence to my “grand vision” so maybe I’ll look like I knew what I was doing all along. Now I must set the stage for the true climax of the story as well as do the delicate work of helping the protagonist rationalize and live with his actions.

I also learned this week that the clever and odd “event” I contrived for the story is actually not so original. Such a thing has happened through the ages, and there is a sort of festival for it each summer in some far-off place with the unlikely name of California. At first I feared that this would dilute the “creepiness” of my story, but I think I found a way use it to my advantage, allowing mine to be less “vulgar” and “pedestrian” than that of the hoi polloi. I wish I could be less cryptic about this, but I just don’t feel I can.

Blah, blah, blah, though. I really need to get the first draft finished. My reflections are all well and good, but there’s work to be done!

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