1. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Thoughts on how to present 2 different eras

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Rumwriter, May 18, 2011.

    So, I've returned to my main project, the book I first started work on.

    It's a series, and the first book follows the story of one character, and the rest of the books follow his grandson. Since I first came up for the idea for these books, I was going to present the grandfather's story by the grandson finding his journal, and having that be a 1st person account of his life.

    Now, after years of work, and going back and forth between this book and others, I'm returning, and wondering if it might just be better to present his story as its own separate thing. Think Bilbo=The Hobbit vs Frodo=Lord of the Rings.

    I still like the journal aspect, because I think it links the two generations together better, but I wanted your input. Thanks.
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Either way works fine. I think the journal thing is kind of cool, but make sure the grandson has just as many adventures as his granddad. The Bilbo/Frodo stories have good amounts of adventure through the whole thing, so that's an example of how to do it right, but some sequels and descendent-of-the-original-MC stories wane in comparison and end up being a faded shadow of the first great novel. If you don't have this problem, however you do it will be fine.
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with Mal. The journal can be an excellent device. It can be used to highlight the similiarities between grandfather and grandson, but also differences.

    Good luck.
     
  4. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've just read a book by Emma Darwin called 'The Mathematics of Love' which goes between the 1970s and the Napoleonic era, with letters as the linking device. She's very good at slightly altering the language to make you feel you've gone back in time. A journal sounds as if it could work, but you don't need to have only parts from the journal--you can just start with the passage from the journal, and then lead on with that character in that era, before returning to the present day character in the next scene or chapter.
     
  5. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    The only harm I could see being done by the journal approach is that it may possibly remove tension from the story because the readers might be aware that the grandfather will be able to survive his perils long enough to have a child of his own.

    However, this can easily be masked by adding (and neglecting) a few key details throughout the first book.
     
  6. Masli
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    Masli Member

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    I found that if the story is inetresting enough I tend to forget about the fact that it was a journal altogether until it was brought back up... ^^'
     
  7. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    idk, if this is what madhoca was talking about (if it was, then thanks, I give you credit), but it would be nice to start the journal writing as if you are reading it in a first person tone, but then switch to a 3rd person view so its more as if you've been engrossed by the story and are experiencing it.

    How would you go about doing this do you think?
     
  8. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose I've been told is written in this style, with a present-time narrator reading letters from his ancestors, thus, in a way, creating two separate time lines in the story. Might be worth checking out how he did it. Then, you might find a way to incorporate both stories in context to the real-time storyline of the grandson, instead of reading a full book by one character that is just a setup for the rest in a series (though, not even sure if that would be good, as many people would see an entirely new character as not really a 'series' but more like a sort of spinoff, and might not be happy the 'series' doesn't continue with the same character).
     

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