Quick thoughts on nonlinear structure and punctuation comedy. (Analyzing WOOL by Hugh Howey)

I'm really enjoying WOOL by Hugh Howey right now, and wanted to jot down two quick notes.

First, some sections of make use of nonlinear structure.  The second section, for example, starts out with the main character in a jail cell, and then goes back several days to explain how she got there.

It made me start thinking about the types of stories that benefit from this type of backwards structure.  My best thought is:  this works well when it's not obvious how the character got to the later scene from the earlier scene.  The bigger the disconnect, the more intriguing the hook.  What do you think?  Are there any other factors that determine whether to use this structure?

That's the first thought, I also wanted to highlight this amusing passage. It's from an underwater diving scene where the POV character is diving and her eccentric friend Solo is communicating with her via intercom.  There's a running joke that Solo's voice is too loud over the intercom.

“YOU OKAY?” Solo asked, his voice startling her again.

“I’m fine,” she said. She held her chin down against her chest, leaving the contact open. “I’ll check in if I need you. The volume is a little high down here. Scares the hell out of me.”

She released the contact and turned to see how her lifeline was doing. All along the ceiling, her overflow bubbles danced in the glow of her flashlight like tiny jewels—


“Goddammit,” she muttered, wishing she could reach inside her helmet to adjust the thing or to dig a finger in her ear. It felt like his voice was still lodged in there, tickling her.

I really like the exchange I bolded up above.  The juxtaposition of the poetic underwater description interrupted by the ALL CAPS response.  It's a great use of punctuation (the em-dash) and capitalization for comedic effect.  And also a good example of how the main character's internal dialogue interacts with external happenings.

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