Sunday, October 18, 2009

How To Fight Monsters: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Hi Meg -

In this chapter I am reminded of some things we've already mentioned that are done so well. The way Alexie  builds suspense by making me as a reader wait all chapter long to find out what on earth the chapter heading was referring to-- fighting monsters? The language, the precise words and phrases that ARE the voice -- "I was emotionally erect."

But the thing I would like to draw specific attention to is something I mentioned a moment ago: the chapter headings, and the ways in which they compliment the book as a whole. The headings draw me in. They match the voice of the character. They make me, the reader, wonder what is coming, and invite me to keep reading. This chapter's heading is a perfect example: How To Fight Monsters. Upon reading that I needed to keep reading and find out what he was talking about. Real monsters? Internal monsters? Another way that Alexie uses chapter settings successfully is as markers of time. Headings like Halloween, Slouching Toward Thanksgiving, and And A Partridge in a Pear Tree give the reader a sense of the chronology of the story. As writers we do not necessarily need to mention within the context of a chapter where we are in time--the chapter heading can do that for us.

Story Sleuths Tip # 7: Chapter headings can serve as an invitation to your reader that they cannot resist--please keep reading!