2020 Hindsight Commentary: Prologue, One, Two of Us

As promised/threatened, I’m revisiting Timely Persuasion 12 years after releasing it / 17 years after writing it / 6000+ days since I jokingly told Jon Mack “maybe I’ll write a book…” with a new round of fresh eyed commentary. Here we go…

Prologue

For a few years now I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the prologue that goes two different ways. On one hand, part of me agrees with some critics that said it doesn’t add a lot of value to the story. All setup, some spoiler-y. Cutting it wouldn’t impact things too much aside from losing the bookended reprise/epilogue at the end.

On the other hand, I wish I had opened with a lyrical reference to set the tone for the narrator’s lyrical Tourette’s right out of the gate. Retconning, it would go a little something like this:

“Is she really going out with him?”

So many people asked me that question it’s impossible to count or remember who said it first. But I do remember what came next.

“I can’t believe you want to marry this guy!”

That was the last thing I ever said to my sister.

Only other noteworthy thing I picked up in my reread is my younger self had an annoying habit of overusing literary “air quotes” throughout. Ten in this prologue alone! “Sigh.”

One

There’s really no good reason for the bartender to be French story-wise. It’s an inside joke that’s a little forced.

I somehow used the wrong (or I guess more accurately “less right”) spelling of acknowledgment here with the extra E.

Once upon a time I had the lottery numbers memorized, but nowadays get them mixed up with the LOST numbers. (These numbers predated LOST by a few years.)

Mountain Dew rock is awkwardly forced in. I should have at least kept the “rock” uppercase or acknowledged the song. (Yes, I used the righter spelling this time.)

Note to my future self: Remember that tan van if there’s a sequel since it never quite pays off here.

Two of Us

“Glitzy was my bowling ball…” might be my favorite chapter opener.

I still mostly dig this chapter, but I use the word “still” too much. (Including in this sentence. So I guess I still use still too much.)

“All seven digits” still makes me smile after all these years. And it still makes no sense. (And I’m still saying still.)

Random fun fact I didn’t realize when writing the book: The Bowling Stones were an actual team my old bowling league at Hollywood Star Lanes. One of the real-life “tattooed biker guys” that inspired the fictional version was Michael Voltaggio of Top Chef, before he was famous.

Minor error: There’s no reason for Bowlingus to say he shouldn’t be talking to the narrator. I think that’s leftover from an older version where the narrator had a perfect game at this point and I never noticed it didn’t fit until now.

I’m going to call out and explain the time-travely logic as it comes up. This is mainly to see if I remember it, but also a decent test if I (still) think it makes sense.

Thinking about Bowlingus and his 270 game from a month ago sends him back in time. He doesn’t touch his neck bruise because he doesn’t have to. (Later he thinks he does, but he’s wrong.) He’s focused on fixing Glitzy so he doesn’t notice, and the passing line earlier that the 270 happened on the same lane on a night he skipped bowling league was setup for this.

The stool he’s sitting on goes back in time with him since he was in contact with it. That’s why he falls when he returns to the present — the chair stayed in the past. Same with Glitzy.

“Future” shouldn’t be uppercase at the end. Or should it…

Check out the original commentary for these chapters:

Prologue | One | Two of Us

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