Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Re-Formatting the Writing

Drifting off to sleep…
what better time to let the subconscious and conscious work together?
When I’m working on a novel, I always make sure to “listen” to characters and attempt to work out parts of the narrative while in bed.

Last night turned out to be such a time. As I’ve mentioned, I’m churning around ideas and easing my way back into a series. I’d been thinking about what a reader mentioned regarding the second book in the series. About how the book shared time between two sets of characters, leaving the reader “hanging” until the next chapter, until the two sets converged. Not that it had been problematic - just observed as noticeable. Now, granted, short of giving each set their own single section, there’s really not much that can be done about it. For halving the novel in that manner would require filling in a great deal more about each set’s activities. I don’t mean that in the sense of “I just don’t want to write so much.” (Believe me, writing more is not a problem for me, thank goodness.) The “bridge” activities would begin to feel as such, I think - extraneous and tedious. And coupled with the fact that it would take away the suspense for each, it just doesn’t behoove me to present it otherwise.

What I’ve been thinking of, though, is that the third book in the series will also require “jumping” back and forth between characters in various locations. I didn’t want to follow the same pattern as the second, so as to avoid being exactly the same as well as quelling the “issue” raised by the reader. Nor will it work to present it as I had in Peter Pan’s NeverWorld. In that case, many more characters needed to be followed and the bouncing around reflects the abundant activity of a planet. So...how to create a similar effect without repeating myself?

I’m happy to say I figured it out last night. Yup - how to do each chapter so that the momentum is not lost, characters are not abandoned for a spell and yet their events are kept separate — except when they intersect — which the format will also allow for quite easily. It will also mirror the action of the book.

I’m not saying it’s anything brilliant. Or new. It probably has been done before. But not by me. And it should work beautifully with this adventure.

Right now I’m trying to work out some details regarding the recent pre-history of this story. It takes place ten years later from the second book (as the second does from the first.) I know what happens, sure. But I’m looking into the specific events that shaped the beginning of this novel. Yes, I will be writing out of sequence as I keep saying I prefer. But in order to dive into the part that interests me most right now, I need to know the details of the sequences that lead up to it.

So I’ll continue to think on it… and see if the characters will tell me.
And then I can look forward to writing in this “new format.”

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