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Interleaving

In a marathon session a week ago I interleaved the chapters of the manuscript. As I posted earlier it was Kathryn Johnson’s idea. Until now the points of view alternated in long chapters of 8,000-10,000 words. By alternating individual scenes from these chapters I now change viewpoints every thousand words or so. A few chapters resisted interleaving but most folded into each other neatly. I am excited to try a new structure this late in the process.

The work of interleaving was programmatic: copy and paste, merge scenes for pacing. My weird obsessive ordering with numbers for each part helped hugely. The work had its own rhythm, in great part repetitive, so there was a benefit to sticking with it all afternoon. Still I am surprised. Clearly its structure was compatible, without my ever once making it so. I had been noodling with it for several days and here it just came together.

One help was to realize I didn’t need to renumber the chapters. Modern editing tools map heading lines but keeping the chapter number is extra information that people can use. There is even a hypertext element. My wife suggested having two different tables of contents, one where the reader follows the alternating scenes, the other where the reader alternates large chapters.

Author: Anthony Dobranski

I'm a fiction writer, mostly.

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