Okay, re-chronologized. …

Okay, re-chronologized. I think we're actually calling this a plain old novel now, rather than a story cycle or a novel-in-stories or any such foofiness. That's how Bob plans to sell it, so I'm trying to condition myself.

I'm getting a sense of the new origin story; I think it'll be about Samiksha (the woman from "Other Cities" and "The Princess in the Forest", but possibly from the limited third person pov of her parents, when she's about fifteen or so. Maybe with a tiny bit from her pov too. I'm a little nervous about the time period -- I don't know much of anything about Sri Lanka back in 1939. That was solidly in colonial time; I need to know what upper-caste Tamils would have generally thought of the British at that point, and of the overall social situation. Need to do research. Not sure where to start. She's a tricky character, since she's going to be going to graduate school in Oxford in 1942 -- there were certainly women there then, and certainly brown men, but I think she would have been the only brown woman. Not sure how people would have reacted to her.

For those curious (mostly Dan and David, I think, who have actually read most if not all of this), I append the new chronology. I'm waffling on a few points -- whether the new story should actually come after "Sister Mary", for example. This would make a neater transition to Other Cities -- on the other hand, that would mean starting the book with "Seven Cups", which I think is a good story, but which is clearly the sexiest of the bunch, and I'm a bit worried that it'll set the wrong tone, the wrong expectations for the rest of the novel. (See, I said it. Novel. No freaking out, no shortness of breath. It's just a word. Novel.)

I'm not sure about a few other transition points either, or the tentative space breaks below. I think what I'm actually going to do now is sit down and read my novel start to finish -- as a printout, so I can't be tempted to start editing as I go. I'm just going to read it. I haven't done that since I started, actually. We'll see how it goes.

Bodies in Motion

Table of Contents

  • new story to be written (1939?)
  • Seven Cups of Water (1948)
  • Sister Mary (1949)

  • Other Cities (1942)
  • The Princess in the Forest (1955)
  • Marry in Haste (1964)
  • Acts of Faith (1963)
  • Pieces of the Heart (1966)
  • Lakshmi's Diary (1969)

  • A Gentle Man (1979)
  • The Emigrant (1979)
  • The Shining World (1983)
  • Mangoes with Chili (1983)
  • Tightness in the Chest (1984)

  • Mint in Your Throat (1990)
  • Challah (1998)
  • Minal in Winter (1999)
  • Bodies in Motion (1999)
  • Savitha (1999)

  • Monsoon Day (2002)

2 thoughts on “Okay, re-chronologized. …”

  1. See, I said it. Novel. No freaking out, no shortness of breath. It’s just a word. Novel.

    I’ll raise a glass to The Novel.

    Reminds me of something Octavia Butler said about starting to write her first novel: she was sure she didn’t know at all how to do it, but she knew how to write short stories — so she wrote short stories chapter-by-chapter until she had a novel.

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