Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hickey of the Beast Wednesday, 4/27/2011

(Link to the serial page)

Today, I read my chapter on the laptop, because the video card on the desktop died. The monitor on the laptop, naturally, is smaller than the desktop (not by much, but by enough that it matters), and I have to say I really like that I'm getting the chapters in my e-mail, where scrolling down to read the material is natural. I think, if I had to read it on a web page by itself, I would be tempted to turn the monitor sideways (which I can do, but didn't have to, so that's good.). I'd love the opportunity to take a look at this on something really small - a pod or a smart-phone or something of that nature.

Chapter 7

The chapter opens the Sunday after the previous dream (on a Friday). We do not get a blow by blow description of Connie's soccer game (thank goodness!); we do get some amateur psychology from Connie's friend Jenny (which is what friends do, right?)

Jenny thinks that because the dreams feature Connie's younger brother, Julio, and the girl that Edward seems interested in at the moment, they mean that either Connie should ask Edward out (which Connie won't do, because she is a freshman and Edward is a senior) or spend more time with Julio.

This provides the opportunity for some nice character development - we see Connie in a familial (and familiar, to anyone who has younger siblings) moment, babysitting her kid brother, Julio. Julio has been having bad dreams too - at the same time as Connie. In Connie's dreams, Julio is the one who smashes the vase and lets out the giant bugs. Julio is deeply concerned with getting into trouble for breaking things. Hmmm. Could the dreams be connected? I would be disappointed if they were not. Beyond this minor plot though, the chapter is mostly character development (which is important too!). Ernesto (Connie's older brother) is mentioned in a discussion of childhood fears (Connie was afraid of large birds) - perhaps this will be important later, and perhaps not.

This chapter seems to end a short narrative arc in that it does not end with a cliff hanger. I'm trying to track some sort of pattern - Connie has a dream, something bad happens to someone, Connie fears she is responsible, her friends talk her out of it - but nothing specifically bad has happened to anyone in several chapters. So, I'm watching for that in the next chapter - something bad to happen to someone specific.

My favorite bit from this chapter:

I stuck a bag of carrots in the crisper. Why we even buy vegetables is kind of beyond me—they generally go bad before we get around to eating more than half of them—but Mom likes to make the effort, I guess. Maybe the thought counts in nutrition, too.

I can relate. My eldest daughter spent all last week feeding collard greens to the bunny so that I couldn't cook them and make her eat them. (I don't understand - I cooked them with bacon, and they were yummy. Oh well.)

ETA: Speaking of my eldest daughter - it occurs to me that I'm reading this novel in the same way that I read novels to her, one chapter at a time. Although we certainly try to do a chapter a night, there have been times when we've gone several nights between chapters. This must be how my parents read chapters to me as well. Reading a book in serial format is like being read to as a child (only with more work on my part) - that's a lovely thing!