The previous chapter, Interlude #2, was deliberately timed to hold the cliffhangerish ending of Cladogenesis for a little longer, before mostly resolving it here.
This chapter has a lot of heavy lifting to do in terms of clarifying the multiverse aspect of the story and pointing out the implications of the parallel theory. It’s the kind of thing that could get really bogged down in pseudo-science and expository dialogue.
In an attempt to sidestep that spiky pit, I structured the chapter in a disjointed, non-linear manner, opening with Kay at the front door of her old house before flashing back to the library. The exposition is handled with the newspaper headlines, breaking the usual flow and delivering the plot twists in a hopefully fresh manner, before then catching back up with the opening paragraph. The result is that the chapter hinges on whether Kay is going to ring the doorbell. Even while explaining the ins-and-outs of the Sci-Fi Stuff, that’s the main driving force of the chapter. The aim is to keep it all character-driven, rather than plot/technobabble-driven.
An interesting thing cropped up in the comments over on Wattpad. It was noted that Kay’s full name – Kaysaleen Rodata – hadn’t been fully established, slightly reducing the impact of the newspaper cutting because the name doesn’t have instant familiarity.
It’s a curious comment because the name was explicitly mentioned in the previous chapter. But the weekly publishing schedule means that namedrop was a whole week ago – which is quite a long time given the short length of these chapters.
What I felt was needed was an additional mention much earlier in the story. Therefore if you head over to chapter 2 ‘Survival of the fittest’ from now on you’ll find the very first mention of Kay’s full name. By establishing it early on, before all the crazy stuff really kicks in, hopefully it’ll stick in the reader’s mind more solidly, with the Interlude #2 mention acting as a reminder before the newspaper cutting in this chapter.
That’s the idea, anyway.
Soundtrack: The quirky Sword & Sworcery LP by Jim Guthrie.