My experiment with altering the timeline taught me a lot. It wasn’t the lesson I sat down to learn, either.
Back in the fall, I bounced the idea of an interwoven timeline with one of my critique partners. She too thought it would be a good plan; she was also writing a book with flashbacks of significant length and I was learning a lot from the way she chose to reveal what she did and when. She hadn’t read enough of my book at the time to know that there were a few plot points, major ones, that would make this difficult for me.
But there are things you can’t unknow. I have tried writing scenes in the present without giving away the past, trying to maintain that suspense for the reader. It all falls apart. And I mean, smashed to the floor. So back to my all-Gaul-three-parts structure. BUT.
Some days when I struggled with the draft, I wrote in first person, just to get done more quickly. Going back this last month, those are the days when my character shines so brilliantly I wish she were alive so that we could hang out. Draft two: Three parts, first person. Knowing what you should know only when you should know it, when life itself reveals it. Makes sense, yeah?