1. Damage718

    Damage718 Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2019
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    164
    Location:
    Joliet, IL

    How much linking in a collection is too much?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Damage718, Dec 6, 2022.

    My current WIP is another collection, only the stories are linked - either by one particular character, or a certain town. The stories span decades, with just that one or two common threads in each.

    It's a pretty short project, only 8 or 9 chapters, but is it overkill to keep having the same character and/or geography appear up in all of them? I think it'll make sense by the final chapter as that's the one that explains everything that each preceding story was leading to (that's the goal, anyway). I'm just concerned about linking the chapters too often, if that's a thing.

    Or are the overthinking demons attacking me again?
     
  2. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2019
    Messages:
    9,872
    Likes Received:
    10,546
    Location:
    Way, way out there
    Stock response #34—"It depends on how it's done."

    We couldn't tell you unless we read all the stories first.
     
    hmnut, Terbus, AntPoems and 1 other person like this.
  3. Damage718

    Damage718 Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2019
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    164
    Location:
    Joliet, IL
    Good point lol.

    I suppose having the same character in every story and then revealing in the last chapter why isn't overdoing it. Especially since he appears in different guises throughout.
     
    Xoic likes this.
  4. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    5,196
    Likes Received:
    5,333
    I don't think you can really overdo that in a linked short story collection. The main thing to keep in mind is that you don't want to be repeating anything as you move from story to story. Also, a lot of times people will read collections (even linked collections) out of order so it might be good to think about the readers who won't read your work in chronological order. I know it's kind of an older book (1990s), but Drown by Junot Diaz does this pretty well and is also a great collection.
     
    montecarlo and Damage718 like this.
  5. Damage718

    Damage718 Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2019
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    164
    Location:
    Joliet, IL
    The main thing I have this recurring character do when he appears under each guise is talk to the MC while performing, or about to perform, some action. Sometimes they have a long, cryptic conversation where he subtly (or not-so-subtly) betrays his identity, and sometimes it's "off camera" where his presence is only implied until I have him do something that affects the story.

    Sometimes he's playing a particular role or doing some kind of job. Other times he's just a mystery man who is just "there." So I think what I have him do varies enough. But a few chapters in, it's pretty evident that this dude keeps showing up in some way or another. So that's why I was concerned about over-linking him...but he does/says different things in each appearance.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2022
  6. w. bogart

    w. bogart Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2022
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    280
    Location:
    US
    One example you might look at is 'Alt Apocalypse" By Tom Abrahams. Hear is the audible summary for relevance.
    'The Alt Apocalypse is the ground-breaking, genre-bending series from Tom Abrahams. It explores survival under the most extreme circumstances, but with a twist (and no cliff-hangers). This series, which can be listened to in any order, features the same core characters in each complete story. But every book dunks them into a new, alternate apocalypse; a nuclear holocaust, an earthquake, a flood, a wildfire, a hurricane, a plague, and even zombies.

    Different heroes will emerge in each novel. Different characters will survive and perish. Your favorite character dies in one book? He or she will be back in the next. In the end, you'll unwind the loose thread that connects every character and every stand-alone story. '
     
    Damage718 likes this.
  7. montecarlo

    montecarlo Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2020
    Messages:
    813
    Likes Received:
    721
    Location:
    America's Heartland
    I like linking, so link away!
     
    deadrats and Damage718 like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice