Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Writing and Bits of String

I have a few projects going at the moment, but I've been thinking that I should stick with one and get it all nice and send it out to beta readers (mwa ha ha. You should know who you are. And then I will stand over you with a big stick and ask sweetly when you will be finished). I am letting my perfectionist ways get the better of me, and it's always good to have a break and reboot, as well as hear things from a different angle from readers.

The first part of my current Work In Progress alternates chapters between two characters who do not meet (at least, not yet). One character has a nice, mostly flowing story arc that I'm quite proud of (though I know it can be improved. I have learnt anything can ALWAYS be improved), but the other's story arc is a bit like a rope with knots tied in it. She has a story, and it happens with scenes strung out along the story line, but things aren't quite as interlinked as they need to be. What I would like is a nice bit of finger knitting, where each bit connects to the next and pulls the story through, preferably with things getting ever worse for the character as you go along (it being the first part of the book). Now trying to figure out how to do this.

I always enjoy and admire stories where the story strands are like a friendship bracelet - strands appear and disappear, and weave together to create a cohesive tale. I see Harry Potter as a bit like this, with multiple strands from different books all coming together and being woven in at some point.

Then there are the stories where threads are left hanging on purpose. These are the ones that make you think, and wonder what might happen next, and whether possibly the author might write a sequel, and then check their author page every other week to see if they are planning one. Some of these books I have really enjoyed, and I like the idea of leaving the reader with something to think about. It also seems more real if things are left hanging and there are uncertainties, as if the world of the book is more tangible. In the real world there are always uncertainties. I've just finished Gemma Malley's Declaration trilogy, and it's one of these (don't let it put you off if you don't like these kinds of endings! The trilogy's really good!). Being by Kevin Brooks is another example, and I think in that case the open ending was meant as a jump-off point for online discussion. It certainly gave me something to think about.

What thread patterns have you noticed in books? What kinds do you like? Do you think of story structure in other ways?

1 comment:

  1. I like books (or book series) that finish the story arc fairly tidily but the characters are so interesting you wonder what happens next in their lives anyway. Or in the case of Millennium trilogy, what happened before...


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