Don't ever underestimate the power an author has through his or her choices in how to structure a book. Structure can change everything. I'm encountering this right now with Sublimation. One structural choice will determine virtually everything about the reader's takeaway.
Right now, as I fight through to get my momentum back, I'm cherry-picking interest plot points from my chapter-run outline and writing those, pulling my mind back into the world of the book. I'm also trying to hit the scenes I've basically pre-written in my head.
I have virtually the entire last chapter written in my head, and so I started pounding away on that tonight, even though I haven't touched several chapters prior to it.
The last chapter is basically comprised of two scenes that are tied together thematically and symbolically, but are not truly interdependent. I can put the two scenes in either order. What I realized tonight is that the choice I make in terms of which to put first will completely control what most readers think the book is. One scene is bittersweet at best, poignant at least, certainly black, and downright bleak. It concludes with one strong implication of philosophical intent. The other scene is much more optimistic and hopeful, promises realized with great hope for the future, even if tinged by regrets. And it concludes with an entirely different implication.
So the order will determine not only the tone and mood that the reader walks away with, but what a majority of them think the "moral" or "point" is.
On the one hand, the realization of this power is pretty cool. I can change the entire book just by how two scenes in one chapter are arranged, without altering any content whatsoever. On the other hand, it's pretty daunting. Wow, what a decision to have to make.
For tonight I'm going to write it how I had originally planned to before I realized the difference the order could make, but I will definitely be thinking about this a lot over the next little while.
Anyone else run into that kind of structural decision in their writing? Or even in their reading?
Now listening to... Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks.