The novel is written as a large chaismus.
This has been a "will-I-or-won't-I" debate for a long time, and I finally decided to go for it. This is a Hebrew literary form in which the events move to a climax in the middle of the story, then repeat in reverse order until you reach the ending—which is an echo of the beginning. Here are a few examples:
- A simple chiasmus example, from Matthew 20:16: The first shall be last and the last shall be first.
- Another simple example, from the opening song to the musical Catch the Wind, "Once upon a time, so long ago, in a faraway land, so long ago, once upon a time."
- A much more involved example, and one that more closely fits the way this poetic form is used in my novel, is the story of Moses, from Exodus:
- The Hebrews are enslaved
- Pharaoh orders the Hebrew first-born males killed
- Moses escapes the murder
- He is raised by Pharaoh's daughter in the court
- Moses realizes he is a Hebrew and he steps in to save a Hebrew slave
- Moses flees Egypt
- Moses meets Tzipporah and marries her
- Moses encounters God at the Burning Bush — the Climax of the story. Now watch how all the previous events are echoed in reverse order.
- Moses tells Tzipporah what has happened
- Moses returns to Egypt
- Moses steps into Pharaoh's court and demands the Hebrew slaves be saved
- Moses returns to the court over and over, as the plagues strike Egypt.
- Moses institutes the Passover to allow the Hebrews to escape the coming deaths
- God kills the Egyptian first-born males
- The Hebrews are set free
So yeah, Exodus is rather incredible when you look at its form. And beyond what I wrote, you can find several more mini chiasmi within the narrative.
So this is what I've been toying with in my novel for a long time, and now as I really put together the final structure of the story, I realized the chiasmus for will work.
This means that my novel, much like the Exodus, will have two climaxes. Exodus has the traditional climax—i.e. the point at which the main conflict resolves—when the Hebrews cross the Red Sea and Pharaoh's chariots are destroyed. And Red Horizons will have a big climax like this—one that I hope my readers find as exciting as it is to me.
But just as Moses's story has a second climax, the pivotal center of the story, my novel will also. The key to everything, in many ways, will be what happens in the center. So, I suppose I'm giving all my readers a hint right now. If the final novel ends up being 22 chapters long as expected, pay attention to what happens (and in different terms, what the characters choose) in chapter 11.