Commentary 23: 23:59 End Of The World

I’m stuck on an introduction for this chapter, so let’s just dive straight in:

  • Nelson had served his purpose in the story, so putting him on the machine and making him go comatose was mostly just to get him out of the way.  His fate is intentionally left ambiguous just in case he needs to be resurrected for a sequel.  It also served to foreshadow the ultimate ending a little bit, though at the time this wasn’t the plan.  I guess you could say it both foreshadowed and inspired the eventual ending.
  • The adult version of Local Boy has inherited his son’s penchant for quoting song lyrics, though he only quotes Local Boy songs.
  • I actually hadn’t realized that the “in head” travel as described was a lot like Being John Malkovich until I wrote that sentence, but decided that it was a description the audience would relate to and left it in as a tribute.
  • In the beginning I really didn’t want to resort to alternate dimensions as part of the time travel theory, but it seems that in the end every story has to end up there to a certain degree.  This world’s alternatives are much like the BTTF equivalents.  Once you’ve branched the timeline, that new branch is “real” to you and you can never get back to the original one.  So time is both linear and malleable at the same time.  Then again, this is all theoretical. 🙂
  • The narrator realizes that if/when he sets everything right, once his future self returns to his “present” he’ll essentially be replaced.  Thus far many of the problems have been caused by his being well intentioned but wanting to have it both ways (set up his sister and fix his own love life; eliminate Nelson and make Dad a rock star).  He needs to accept that “winning” for the greater good may involve a “loss” for himself.  A turning point for his character begins here.
  • In the first draft there were forty something chapters and almost every one ended with a cliffhanger, mainly to keep me amused and motivated at the end of each writing session.  Around the third or fourth draft I started to realize that the chapters were a little too short and the cliffhangers were often unnecessary.  I combined a lot of chapters to eliminate these false ends and be more consistent in lengths, but then the later chapters lacked a little bit of punch.  The father’s death twist was added to infuse some surprise into the final section.
  • There are 27 known musical references in this chapter.

Read Chapter Twenty-Three Online

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