Commentary 3: Gimme Three Steps

This is the first of many introspective/exploratory chapters where the narrator is trying to piece together exactly what is happening to him. High on stream of consciousness, low on dialogue. I’ve always hated writing dialogue, which is probably one of the many reasons I abandoned my screenwriting training and wrote a novel instead.

Most of my writing tends to be plot driven rather than character driven. I tend to know the major points I want to hit, then find a way to meander my way through those points during the actual writing. My original outline of guideposts for this story went from “Bowling Scene” to “Kurt Cobain Scene,” so this chapter is mainly a bridge to connect the dots.

The chapter song titles rarely had intentional meaning to them; just finding titles for all of the numbers was a task in and of itself. But like most other coincidences in life you can usually find a connection if you look hard enough. Gimme Three Steps could be the three steps taken before a bowling shot or the “three things” required to “fix this” that we’ll learn later. Or maybe it’s just a Lynyrd Skynyrd song that happens to have the number 3 in it…

More tidbits:

  • I’ve been told that my sense of direction is my kryptonite. The narrator shares this weakness.
  • “Blink” was adopted as the lingo for time travel here, but an early reader questioned why I used that word rather than something else like “jump” or “zoom.” The word a day calendar was inserted to explain the logic. A few years later I was quite relieved that I stuck with blink when the teleportation movie Jumper came out. Not time travel, but still a little too close for comfort. I later discovered that the original Jumper novel had been on my Amazon wishlist for years, so maybe the word had been filed away as off-limits subconsciously.
  • The random italic text that pops up from time to time (when it isn’t just proper annotation for album or TV titles) is intended to represent thoughts or memories from the subconscious. Later on we learn a lot more about what the subconscious really is in the world of the book, which gives these italics a slightly different meaning on subsequent readings.
  • The golf ball was originally a baseball, but was changed when most of the baseball references were excised. More details in the deleted scenes; the Marty Barrett one is relevant to this chapter. I think the golf ball works much better.
  • Anachronism alert: According to this Huey Lewis Gigography, Huey didn’t play any shows on the east coast of the USA in 1986.  Wish I found that site during my research instead of after the fact…
  • Peggy Sue Got Married ended up being a perfect reference as a song and time travel hybrid, but I sorta lucked into it. When the golf ball was a baseball, the ball was a gateway to travel back to the 1986 World Series. When I rewrote the chapter I could have made it any year, but since it was already 1986 that’s where I started my search for a potential movie trailer for him to see on TV.
  • Even though I was killing the baseball bits, I couldn’t resist the Cheers baseball tie-in when doing the rewrite.
  • There are 22 known musical references in this chapter.

Read Chapter Three Online

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