Thursday, September 1, 2011

Question #12

And it's September already. And I didn't come anywhere NEAR to finishing up all the questions sent for this series. And I keep getting more every day. And they're all fun questions.

So, we're just going to continue this series through the month of September. Or until I run out of questions. One or the other!

Anyway, our twelfth question (forgive me . . . I couldn't remember who'd asked this one and foolishly didn't note it down originally. Sorry, whomever you may be!) is as follows:

Why did you decide to split Veiled Rose into 5 parts?

This is an interesting question. Heartless, my readers may remember, was told in one long continuous flow of plotline. This is how most novels are written these days. Veiled Rose, on the other hand, is split into five separate parts which gives the book a slightly different feel than Heartless. I debated whether or not to do this several times in the drafting of Veiled Rose, but finally came to the conclusion that the only way to tell the story correctly would be to break it up.

This is primarily because each section covers a distinct period of time. Part 1 is about Leo's first summer visiting Hill House when he eleven. This section introduces characters, builds to a miniature climax, and comes to a pseudo-resolution. Then we skip ahead five years to meet Leo again as a sixteen-year-old. This section also builds to a mini-climax and contains a resolution sorts. Then we skip ahead again by a full year for Part 3. Another build to a climax, another sort-of resolution. Part 4 covers a period of five continuous years for Leo and, seemingly, just one long day for Rose Red. That bit was the tricky part, with one character living within Time and one character living without. We see yet another rise to a climax and a semi-resolution. Part 5, everybody is back within Time, and we get our last climax and our final resolution.

While the entire story builds to a BIG climax (Rose Red and Leo's subsequent encounters with the Dragon), each of these sections tells a mini-story all of its own. Unlike Heartless, which takes place pretty much all within one year, this story covers more than ten years of these characters' lives, focusing on specific portions within those ten years (the summers at Hill House, Leo's exile, etc).

To me, this made for a much smoother narrative flow. Without the clear delineation of Parts, a jump from age eleven to age sixteen would be a bit awkward to manage. Not impossible, certainly . . . but awkward.

You will notice that Moonblood is also split into Parts. I did this for similar (though not exactly the same) reasons, that I am not at liberty to elaborate here (you'll have to read the book first). Starflower (coming October 2012) goes back to the format of Heartless, telling the story in one long sequence of events. But with my current manuscript-in-progress, I have been debating the pros and cons of splitting it into parts. My original plan had five distinct sections . . . I am now leaning away from that idea and considering writing the narrative in such a way that I won't need the parts split.

It all comes back to what best serves the individual story you are telling. There is no one way to write a book! Every book is distinct, every story has a life all its own. A technique that works brilliantly for one might be the death-toll for another. Never get too comfortable with your style or technique, or you might just be strangling your newest story!

I think this quote sums up what I mean to perfection:

"You never learn how to write a novel. You just learn how to write the novel that you're writing."
Gene Wolfe, paraphrased by Neil Gaiman


Anonymous said...

Tanks so much for answering my qustion! That was from me Manise.

Angie said...

I was wondering the same thing so I'm glad you asked, Manise. :)

Anonymous said...

Your welcome! Angie! ~ Manise