I had to go back. my fifth time to reread the opening chapter. This is the first paragraph:
” She stood at the window of the Manhattan apartment, peeking through a slit In the drapes. Her hands trembled.”
I knew the “she” was Gabriela. That was obvious from the first reading. But what did I know about Gabriela. Or more importantly, what had I MISSED about Gabriela?
MY task . . . Self-imposed . . . To make sense of Jeffery Deaver’s The October List.
I had already read the preview on my kindle. I was going to check the library for a print version, but there it was at eye level at the Dollar Store with a $3 yellow sticker.
The inside flap:
“Gabriela waited desperately for news of
Her abducted daughter.
At last, the door opens.
But it’s not the negotiators.
It’s not the FBI.
It’s the kidnapper
And he has a gun.”
How did Deaver create suspense?
He chose Structure.
He began with the ending and went backwards one scene at a time.
As a reader, I had to figure out which details were important in the past and where were the red herrings that led me off the path? Rocket science? No! BUt I was reading this book as I began Vicki Vinton’s, Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Learning, and I did not want to merely read it as a “plot junkie” as mentioned in chapter five. I wanted to consider HOW I deliberately made sense of this text in order to better inform my reader lay self (and perhaps borrow the idea for a longer writing task).
I started a list. Basic jots of key details.
I wished for a talking partner to share ideas.
I made some oral notes on my phone.
I began to look for patterns.
How much time and how many chapters elapsed between key details?
Tally marks were replaced with questions
And then with possible solutions.
But how could they be solutions when I already knew the ending?
Too soon to know.
But the compelling story line . . .
A mother, a kidnapped six year old daughter,
A half million dollar ransom
And “The October List” to be delivered within 30 hours
OR . . .
Typical structures include:
Scene by scene
Beginning, Middle, End
How does an author decide?
And even more importantly, how does a reader make sense of the structure?
What works for you?
And thanks to fellow slicer”Arjeha”, I already knew the key to the Structure, but not the key to the kidnapping! Check out additional slices at TwoWritingTeachers.wordpress.com
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.