February 15, 2019 at 9:31 pm #78673
Hello all! It’s been a while since I’ve been on here, but it’s good to be back 😀 I have a plotting conundrum that I’m hoping to get some advice on.
To start, this is fantasy series that I’m working on, and for ease of remembrance I’ll just say that my protagonist’s name is Marie and the other primary character is Tom. My outline for their arcs goes like this:
Book 1: Positive arc for both Marie and Tom.
Book 2: Disillusionment arc for Marie, negative arc for Tom
Book 3: Positive arcs for both again.
My trouble is with book 2. In the previous book, both Marie and Tom will have alternating POVs. Yet in book 2 Tom’s POV scenes end at the midpoint of the story and he isn’t seen again until book 3.
I originally chose to do this because in book 2 after the midpoint, Tom gets caught as prisoner of war and is, well…tortured (though I promise it’s necessary for thematic reasons 😛 ). His story from there on cuts away from the main conflict and leads him into the depths of despair, though that’s really preparing him for a breakthrough in book 3. (I intended to reveal what happens to him in book 3 as well)
Simultaneously in book 2, Marie is experiencing a similar descent to despair via the plot events, even though her side of the story is less hopeless. Yet if I paired Tom’s tragic arc with hers…that’s one depressing story.
But here I run into my problem: is it even a good idea to cut off a major character’s POV halfway through book 2 of a series? Considering all that happens to Tom, I would have to practically reintroduce him in book 3. Which could work, since the story is primarily about Marie, and it would impact her arc when she finally learns what happens to him and it would also be a nice surprise for readers. Yet if I did include parts of Tom’s prisoner of war scenes in book 2, in book 3 the tension of readers knowing that Marie doesn’t know what happened to him could also be strong.
I hope that made a bit of sense at least. I know you can essentially pull off any kind of tricks in a book if you do it right, but I’m wondering if cutting off Tom’s POV is a wise decision to make and might distance him too much from readers. Any thoughts would be appreciated 🙂
"Beauty will save the world." - DostoevskyFebruary 15, 2019 at 11:12 pm #78681Jane Maree@jane-maree
I’ll try come back with more put together thoughts, but my initial thoughts are–that would be fine! You’d have to make it a natural ending to his POV—maybe phase him out a little and not have as many POV chapters beforehand as well–and give the readers a bit of a cliffhanger on his storyline. What happens to Tom next? When will he come back? Then make sure that he doesn’t just totally ‘vanish’ from the story, as such. Have other characters still mention him. Drop hints for readers to pick up on, etc.
Writing Heroes ♦ Writing Hope // janemareeauthor.com.auFebruary 16, 2019 at 5:55 pm #78777Josiah DeGraaf@josiah
As a reader, if I’m really engaged in Tom’s story, I think I’d be a bit irked to suddenly have his POV cut off–especially if I found him to be the more engaging central character. 😛 So that would be one consideration to keep in mind… I don’t personally think a depressing book would necessarily be a problem either if handled well. That’s why Empire Strikes Back did so well. That being said, I also enjoy tragedies so… I’m probably not the best person to ask about that particular part. xD
As you mentioned, I do think most things can be done in fiction if done skillfully with the reader’s expectations and desires in mind. But I would probably personally lean toward including some scenes so readers engaged with his plotline aren’t left completely in the lurch (unless you decide that it would really be better for the story to hide his plotline entirely). If you decide to do the latter, I might draw attention to it with Marie’s POV and showcase her in suspense about Tom’s whereabouts so any reader frustrations over his disappearance will be vicariously experienced through Marie and thus drive their interest in the story upward instead of downward.
Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at https://josiahdegraaf.comFebruary 17, 2019 at 7:29 pm #78895Daeus Lamb@daeus-lamb
If you decide to do the latter, I might draw attention to it with Marie’s POV and showcase her in suspense about Tom’s whereabouts so any reader frustrations over his disappearance will be vicariously experienced through Marie and thus drive their interest in the story upward instead of downward.
^^This is very good.
Cutting off Tom’s story and focusing on Marie would work best if Marie’s story in book two takes an unexpected turn and is fairly unique from book one, readjusting reader expectations. Foreshadowing Tom’s disappearance might help.
And finally, I agree tragedies are fine.
👖 🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢February 17, 2019 at 11:51 pm #78924
Thank you all for your thoughts!
@jane-maree Yes, it currently is a cliffhanger ending… I’ll keep in mind the point about having his POV slowly phase out though 😉
@Josiah heh, well, he is known for being sarcastic and stealing the hearts of several beta readers 😛 I may end up adding his scenes in once I write the actual book, but otherwise, your last idea sounds really good.
@daeus-lamb it is very different from the first book, so that should help 🙂
"Beauty will save the world." - DostoevskyMarch 4, 2019 at 6:33 pm #80969Snapper@snapper
*stumbles in a few weeks late* *cough*
A dragon is never late…. she arrives —
Ah you know the rest. Do you still need help or am I THAT late. XD
Anyway. I mainly flew in to thank you for tagging me. I miss being tagged around here. 😉
*melts chair*March 5, 2019 at 6:05 pm #81083
@snapper hey! if you have any thoughts, I’d still love to hear them (as I’m pretty indecisive when it comes to plot decisions like this XD)
And you’re welcome. Though I have to thank you for having a tag that’s easy to remember, because I’m still in confusion since the demise of Kingdom Pen 😉
"Beauty will save the world." - DostoevskyMarch 8, 2019 at 9:30 pm #81436Snapper@snapper
@morreafirebird Lol yeah I can’t remember anything either. Those were the good ol’ days. 😉 XD
And I haven’t been around for a while, so I’ll do my best to sound helpful. XD
Well, first thing is first. I feel bad for Tom. Personally, I think you’d want to carry the reader through Tom’s POV as he changes so that the reader can experience that change as well. Cutting off his POV might almost sound like he dies. While you don’t have to show the scenes where he goes through the pits of despair — filling in with Marie’s POV — I think it’d be important at least to keep up with what’s he’s doing here and there.
Likewise, if he’s a sarcastic character, that can easily serve to make things seem a bit less depressing. I’ve used my own character’s sarcasm to counterbalance everything that happens to him because he’s just so resilient. And he doesn’t know it, but my character is slowly changing all the while.
*melts chair*March 9, 2019 at 2:36 pm #81507
Yes…poor Tom (I changed his name in this question, or else my former betas would be on a mission to save him from me 😛 ). That’s a good point to keep him somewhat in the story. I had an idea of incorporating mini, one-page chapters in his POV with little peeks into what’s happening to him.
*writes that down* Sarcastic characters are helpful like that xD
Thanks for your thoughts!
"Beauty will save the world." - Dostoevsky
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