Thursday, December 5, 2013

Linear writer or Parallel writer

For some times now I have been thinking a lot about the shapes my stories are taking.
I'm not sure if there are already terms for what I'm going to describe so let me start by explaining what I mean by linear writer and parallel writer.

A linear writer takes a character from A to Z and never leave her/him, or goes with this character all the way through time -with flashbacks in thoughts even though the flashbacks might mean that it's not really linear. See how I'm even confused about it.  

I always considered myself a linear writer. But come to think of it even in Demon Soul there are always some parts where I'm not only with Brownie. For example during Sahel's training in the Demon World. In that case, the story is linear in time only, despite the background flashbacks in Brownie's thoughts.
My only story that would be purely linear is then Rainbow Catcher and I can tell you that sticking with Jason was so hellish that I actually had two characters around him to spice things up a bit and it took me a lot longer to write with a big break. Then again, I don't know how the entire linear writing will survive the multiple editing.
The thing that made me believe I was a linear writer is more how I always started my stories, Demon Soul, Attic Mirror, Demon and Fairy, Rainbow Catcher, Vampire heart... with only one character to follow and then things changed a bit as the story developed but probably not to much, after all, I'm a planner. 
In Demon and Fairy, the story would have been completely linear (and it was) if I didn't add the Kelpie story line in part 2. This story line is only really useful for the reader when they reach my current WIP Blue Angel so it took me a long time to decide if I wanted to include it or not in full. 
What I like in linear writing is the intimacy. You get to know the character very well because they are all you see, this is sometimes difficult to handle as a writer because it doesn't leave any space for inconsistencies in the character's timeline or behavior, if you want them to do something special out of their usual behavior, you need to give them a special trigger related to something that happened in their past. Of course, ideally you need that for every characters, but it's more complex when the number of characters is reduced. 
I especially like this complexity in the character development in Vampire Heart because I think it works pretty well with the first person narrative, even if I escape in the third person with another character from time to time. It allows me to give Viorel so many layers of personality that it even makes me confused at time.
In Harajuku Kiss, I write in third person and the linearity in this point of view helps me detached a bit from the main character to emphasize how depressed she is and how the one particular event of the story can completely shift her state of mine and her life.
I think I like to have my reader feel the same way the main character does.
In Demon and Fairy, the linearity at the beginning of the novel allows the reader to feel the Chaos in Seti's head as something omnipresent that they don't fully understand, it's oppressing and you can't help but want to get ride of it. My only fear is that the reader might be annoyed enough by it to stop reading.

Then a parallel writer is a writer who starts the novel with different story lines which join each other at some point or at the conclusion where everything fixes itself, or a writer who writes a story where the time line is a mix of present, past, future in any order you would like. 
The only problem with me calling it parallel is that parallel lines are not supposed to join, ever, but then in a story that would be pretty weird.

I think I'm starting to be parallel writer. It started with Demon World. I had three story lines going on. And I have Brownie and Sahel's minds jump from past life to past life multiple time leading to no linearity in time. I still need to edit this part to make sure that it's blurry enough and still clear enough. It's something nice to balance and I really enjoyed this part. It gave my characters some new dimensions as their souls travel back in time.
Now, in Blue Angel, I have five story lines as you might have noticed. I go from one to the other in order. At first, I thought the story lines belonged to particular characters but when Isakael joined Sahel and the other by going home, one story line was close but a new story line opened in the Angel World with Ezechial so maybe they belong to places.
This allowed me to give a new dimension to the story by developing my villain. In the previous novel, the villains seem under developed as we spend so much time with the protagonists. This will be fixed as the villains become more and more prominent in the story because the protagonists discover their purposes.
I really enjoy the mystery part in parallel writing. When you go from one group of characters to another, there is always something in me that wants to know what will happen to the previous groups of characters. It also gives a rather epic dimension to the story with a lot of things happening and allows me to create a world more complete and complex. It also let me play with a lot of characters, it's like having many friends.

So linear or parallel? How do you like your stories? How do you like your writing? Let me know!
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