To say that this was an easy chapter to write would be simplifying things a bit. The truth is that this chapter took me about 3 hours to draft from beginning to end. Theo’s YESTERDAY sections are much easier to write than Charlie’s TODAY sections because they’re happier. We know that Theo is dead. We know what his fate is, and that adds a certain grimness to the chapters set in the past, but he’s still so alive in them, and that makes it easier for me to write. It’s not that I don’t like Charlie’s chapters, it’s just that I hate the world where Theo is dead.
The one thing I’m afraid of, and I think a writer trying to pull this off should be, is that readers won’t feel invested in Charlie and Theo’s relationship because they already know he’s dead. And, honestly, I was tempted in the planning to withhold his death for a long time to keep the reader invested, but I decided that doing so would come across as a dirty trick. Instead, I decided that I needed to get people invested in their relationship by having them get invested in Charlie’s future. We have to want to care about Theo and Charlie because the power of their relationship is the engine that powers the story in the present.
Also, I may have one other trick up my sleeve in regards to Theo, but I’m keeping that one close to my chest for now.
Because Theo is dead and Charlie is essentially recalling him from death with his guitar, I want to play with the language of spirituality, the words of religion. And not just Christian religion, but all of them. So, if you read with a sharp eye, you’ll see a lot of religious stuff going on. Also, there is a lot of underlying water and choking/drowning stuff going on.