Yesterday was a good book day -- I retyped the first chapter and revised the second two. That took a few hours, but the result is far more coherent than it had been. The story is actually starting to make some sense, which is reassuring. I only generated about five hundred new words (for the fourth chapter), but I'm still pleased with what I accomplished. I think the end of the fourth chapter will also work as the end of the first section, which is exciting to think about. I'm still not sure what I'll be doing with the next section -- I'm tempted to make a radical jump in time and place and character, to Sri Lanka a few generations previous. I don't think I'll be giving that part of the book equal weight to the present-day material -- right now, it feels more like the Sri Lanka sections might serve as fragmentary interludes, in between the major present-day sections. But we'll see. Right now, the structure is all up in the air.
I really like structure. Structure is the way I usually end up making sense of the story, in my head. The characters exist before the story starts, and after it ends, and in all sorts of places in the middle that I choose not to focus on. They give the story depth. But it's the structure that gives it shape, that says, this, this is the piece of music we're listening to, right here, right now. Music is all around us, occupying all the spaces -- but we're limited humans -- we can't listen to it all at once. Structure lets us make sense of it. It's the story we tell ourselves, limited, but illuminating.