Writer Unboxed has an interesting article by Victoria Mixon on Layering in fiction. The author talks about three types of layering:
- Novel-layering-where you alternate between plotlines by switching, one chapter at a time, for example, between developing plot One and in the next chapter, develop plot Two. This continues as each plotline moves closer to the other until they collide as a major change point in your novel.
- Scene layering – where you alternate the ‘tone’ of each scene to mix up the novel. For example, a funny scene, then serious, then action-packed etc.
- detail-level layering – where you add the small details to each scene that draws the picture, but also, and most importantly, highlights something important. Don’t talk about the MC’s raven hair unless there’s some significance to it (e.g. that it proves she is the daughter of King, and not the lowly peasant she grew up as).
Read the original article… it’s much better.
Then, on to the multiverse! I’ve always gotten a kick out of thinking of parallel universes and what possibilities there are for stories. I had story pop out of a very detailed dream wherein a cop had to chase down a murderer through multiple parallel universes, wherein said killer was bumping off the same person in every universe. Sooo much fodder there for a really fun story (or novella)…must write that some day.
Anyway, Lynn Vhiel talks about the multiverse after hearing an interview with Brian Greene on his new book that talks about the real-world possibility of parallel universes. I’d seen him interviewed on the Colbert Report and thought it was an interesting book. (I’ve since downloaded the sample chapters for Kindle and it seems very readable for a scientific book).
…makes me wonder if AlternateMe has already written that parallel universe story (and did she do a better job than I will? hmph).
So what do you think your alternate selves are up to?
As I mentioned in another post, I’m rereading MZB’s Darkover series. I love her storylines, use of psi talents, and culture clash between the feudal Darkover peeps and the scientific Terran peeps. But I’ve learned a few things in this back-to-back reread of her earlier works:
- Copy edit mistakes were far FAR worse ‘back then’ (1970s publishing date on some of these I think). Lot’s of little misspellings, name changes, etc.
- Bless her heart, MZB repeated herself… A LOT
It’s the second one that gets under my skin after awhile. It’s almost always to do with the angst/introspection part. Her characters talk to themselves quite a bit, and they repeat the same thing..again…and again…and again. And it’s not repeating themselves on page 33, and 233. It’s repeating themselves on page 33, and 34, and 44… As in very close together and why didn’t the editor snip that text out?
I’m guessing it has something to do with how much more difficult it was to fix draft issues back when everything was typed up (pre-computer time). But it does make me think we’re spoiled today with our easy (HAH!) Word document edits and review cycles and electronic galleys etc. Soo much easier to move text, delete, add, and in general, edit ourselves into a stupor.
The KillerZone has a great post on pacing your novel. While it’s focus is on thrillers, the tips make sense for a lot of other genres. Here’s a snapshot of some of the tips, but you really want to go read the post yourself. Sooo much there worth absorbing, but here’s the stuff I really liked:
throw the reader right into the middle of action
Short sentences (as well as short chapters, scenes, and paragraphs) adds tension.
starting a scene in the middle of the pertinent action
Make it personal…Your characters have to rise to the occasion—even if they are an average Joe—and go up against insurmountable odds.
Make [your hero] do the one thing they would NEVER do—with the clock ticking.
• No hype – give readers a big finish. Don’t disappoint them.
Anyway, that’s just the surface of the post. Did I mention. go. read. now