1. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Senior Member

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    Same characters, different parts

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Bakkerbaard, Sep 14, 2021 at 4:28 PM.

    I'm wasting some time on a couple of End-of-the-world shorts (planning to, so far there's three quarters of one) and I was thinking about going the American Horror Story route. Like where you see the same faces pop up, but in wholly different and unrelated roles every season.
    Assuming all of them get written, the long term planning is to put these shorts into one collection.

    This kinda works for TV, but would it work in writing?
     
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    Not the way American Horror Story does it. That's essentially a company of actors, like a theater troupe. In literature, with no visual reference, you would have to describe each of the "faces" distinctly, which is totally possible, but would be hard to resolve in the reader's brain, because characters are not actors. You could use the same names in different roles, which would be a close facsimile to what AHS does, but that would conjur ideas of alternate timelines/realities. Again, totally doable, but why? What are your goals? Are they meant to be the same characters? Does something tie all of them together? If not, I don't see the point.
     
  3. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Senior Member

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    Just something I was wondering about. The concept is a series of shorts themed around several ends of the world and I thought it might be fun to reuse characters in every story, but where one character might be the director of a TV show, they could be, I dunno, a grocery guy in the next story.
    Can't speak of any significant goals I want to achieve. Thought it might help with staying in theme.

    I'm not sure about it either. Like you said: this is not a theater troupe.
     
  4. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Would they have the same names in each story? Otherwise I don't see how readers would understand they're the same characters. It's a cool idea, but I think the book would need to be set up around it. Maybe a preface explaining the concept.
     
  5. Bakkerbaard

    Bakkerbaard Senior Member

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    Yeah, same names. But the more I think about it, the more it seems like a bad idea.
    I thought about prefacing it as well, but there's part of me that thinks if I have to outright explain a concept it's too complex/daft to begin with.

    I'm gonna have to give it some more thought either way. This "short" story is ballooning into novella territory.
     
  6. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Actually I think it would work without needing to be explained. Readers will freak out a little on starting the 2nd story, but then they'll get it. And like anything else of course, how well it works depends on how well you can pull it off.
     

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