We’ve already gone over the “old”, as I’ve explained about my return to using the laptop in writing “What Now?”, Book 3 in the Jeremy Shuttle Adventures. That’s the same way I wrote Book 1 (“What if?”) and I detailed for you the supposed benefits in yesterday’s post.
Today, we’ll talk about the “new”, specifically, the writing style I choose to use (or experiment with, if you prefer). What if? was a straightforward linear tale, all characters and action starting out and progressing across a uniform timeline, with each action logically following the next. It is the most common format for a reason: it’s the easiest to understand. Anything that doesn’t distract from the story generally helps the story.
Occasionally, challenging the reader (and by extension, the writer) can be fun, so in What Next? I took that same timeline and wrapped it around itself. Now you have two points of time occurring at the same place in the book but on distinctly different points of the timeline. Over the course of the book, I brought those points increasingly closer together until they matched by the end of the book. It was a gamble that may not have paid off completely based on reader feedback I’ve seen, but I think it was worth the effort and I believe it served the story (as opposed to being a “clever author trick”).
What Now? is here and I want to try something different. Like the return to the laptop, the book will see a return to a linear tale, though many actions may be occurring simultaneously within the timeline of the story. The new twist/technique/style I’m trying will be thought of as an affectation or as something that’s pretty darn cool. Reader reaction will once again be my guide.
Smart and safe would suggest writing the book by the commonly recognized and enjoyed pacing formats, especially for a cross-age story. I could be justifying myself, but I like to imagine readers enjoy a little variety in the writing style, too. Of course, it all fails if I don’t bring the trilogy to a satisfying close…at the end of the day, writing is king and there’s nothing new about that!