Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

“Shape-the-Book” time!

Hello boys and girls, it’s Shape-the-Book time!

Work progresses steadily on book three of the Molly Fyde saga, and in this tale, the action takes place simultaneously across three locales.

I’m writing the rough draft by telling each story separately, so I don’t lose momentum, and adding scene breaks at natural, cliff-hangery spots. Later, I’ll weave the book together so all three stories progress in parallel.

Here’s the question that will help shape the eventual structure of the book: Do you prefer these multiple viewpoint stories when the author switches rapidly between each scene within a single chapter? Or do you like it better when the chapter sticks with one locale, and setting changes take place at the end of each chapter?

With the first type of book, you get a real mix of the variety of action taking place at once and you don’t have to wait as long to get to your “favorite” storyline.

With the latter, you get to settle into each character and scene and might feel less of a sense of “rush,” but also, perhaps, less positive tension.

The final product will have a mix of these two techniques, but which would you like to see more of? Vote away with your comments and expound as much as you like.

3 replies to ““Shape-the-Book” time!”

It’s a catch-22 for me to be sure. If you don’t switch around within a chapter, then I am often pushed to read the next few so I can figure out what’s going on. But if I simply /can’t/ keep reading (have to go to work/sleep/dinner) then it really irritates me.

It’s easier to put a book down and pick it up if all the storylines interact in a chapter. Then I don’t have to struggle so much to remember what’s going on if for some reason I can’t read it within a few days.

I prefer it when a chapter, as a whole, deals with one storyline at a time. Yes, it takes away from some of the “action” as you called it. However, for my tastes, I like to focus entirely on one issue/situation at a time without having to keep up with everything that’s going on in the big picture (if that makes any sense). Much like the previous comment, I end up reading bits and pieces at a time and too many things going on at the same time makes it difficult to stop/start without having to re-read sections over again…that’s my two cents.

I’m with my namesake on this. I like the larger “chunks” of the story, as well as the anticipation of getting back to where the previous story lines left me hanging.

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