A few announcements before I talk about today’s topic:
February started off with a bang! The Amazon rankings of Minutes Before Sunset skyrocketed to #980 in Fantasy and #628 in Romance-Paranormal. To celebrate, my Author Facebook Page had a little sunset party. Thank you to all of those readers! I hope you’re enjoying the romantically dark tale. If you’re thinking about checking it out before book 2 releases next month, here’s the Amazon link. (Only $3.89 right now.)
After that, I was delighted again when The Fussy Librarian emailed me that Minutes Before Sunset has been added to their shelf. The website is totally free, and it is dedicated to emailing you with the ebooks matching your unique interests and content preferences.so check it out here.
I also did two interviews this week – one with Paris Carter, a fifteen year-old-boy from Georgia dedicated to book reviews ranging from genre and age group, and another with Ariesgrl, a blogger who brings children and adults happiness through good books. Click the links to check out the interviews. They both have fantastic websites that I recommend.
Now, today’s topic:
As many of you know, my published novels – November Snow and Minutes Before Sunset – are told from two perspectives, one boy and one girl. To make this discussion simpler, I am going to be concentrating on The Timely Death Trilogy, including Minutes Before Sunset and Seconds Before Sunrise, but I will be referring to them as “MBS” and “SBS” as we continue forward.
Telling a story from different perspectives isn’t a new style. There are many novels written this way, one of my favorites being the Guardians of Time by Marianne Curley, but this style does seem to spark a debate – should chapters rotate from one character to the next? Should each speaker get equal time to speak? Should you show the same scene from two perspectives or never repeat a scene? These are a few of the many questions writers and readers have asked and answered. I am going to share my decisions in the hopes of clarifying why some writers choose what they do in dual perspectives:
MBS – as well as the entire trilogy – is told by Eric Welborn and Jessica Taylor. Believe it or not, they do not get to tell every other chapter (ex. Chapter one is Jessica’s, chapter two is Eric’s, chapter three is Jessica’s, and so on and so forth) and they definitely didn’t get equal speaking time. But this was done with a purpose in mind, and it does change in SBS.
Below is a page count chart for MBS. Blue is for Eric, and red is for Jessica. (We will get the change in SBS in a minute.)
As you can tell, Jessica only told about 40% of the first novel, while Eric told more. This was because of what the first novel is focused on – the Dark. Since Eric has more experience in the Dark, his voice came out more. He needed to say more, and I listened to him. This also brings up my main point: When the character wants to speak, I let them. They are in charge, not me, and that is the singular reason as to why my chapters do not rotate on and off. Jessica might have to tell three chapters in a row before Eric remembers he has a turn to speak up. This is the same reason that my second novel will not be told in the same way as the first.
Below you will see the page count for SBS. Purple is for Jessica, while green is for Eric.
As you can see, it’s a lot more equal, but Jessica tells more this time around. (Yay for Jessica!) This happened for many reasons that I can’t quite explain yet, but it mainly happened because SBS revolves around being human, and Jessica has more experience in the human world than Eric. (The third novel is focused on the Light, if you’re curious, but I’ll have to show that perspective later!)
Many writers and readers ask whether or not to show the SAME scene from both perspectives. Many say “no” for the simple fact that no one wants to reread the same scene, but I have gone against this. I had a repeating scene in MBS, and this is why:
The scene is first told by Jessica. She finds Eric sleeping in school, and he wakes up, and they make plans. At one point, she thinks he doesn’t care what she’s saying because he isn’t responding to her. Later, when the scene is shown from Eric’s perspective, we learn that he is talking to someone telepathically. So, he isn’t responding because he’s distracted – not because he doesn’t care. There are a few other things shown that explain how the two view one another, but I only want to concentrate on one. Telling the same scene from two perspectives can be confusing, but if done correctly, it can show a lot about how the characters think. If you’re going to do this, I recommend only doing it once or twice for effect reasons. (Plus, we don’t want to be too redundant.)
The other question I hear is, “Should each novel be told by the same characters?” I would suggest using the same speakers, only because your readers are probably attached to their voices and inserting a new one might be hard on everyone – writer and reader – but if it’s right for the story, go for it! Delirium by Lauren Oliver is a good example. Two novels of the trilogy are told by one character, but the last novel gives Hana a voice. At first, as a reader, I was thrown off, but I ended up loving it, and it was completely necessary for the story. I believe the fourth novel in the Twilight Saga did this as well.
Basically, if you’re considering writing in dual perspectives (or omniscient third) I would trust your characters to show up and speak when they need to. Don’t force one character to show up just because the other has been taking control for a while. Let them handle the flow. They’ll come through for you. They might even wait until you’re editing to come through, but they will. I, personally, think the characters normally know more than the writer, but that’s probably why I listen to them so much. It’s their story, after all.
What do you think? Have you ever written (or read) in dual perspectives? How did you handle it?
I do have to take a moment to express how excited I am for the release of Seconds Before Sunrise! I am glad Jessica gets more time in the spotlight, and I’m looking forward to other characters getting more attention – like Camille, Pierce, Luthicer, and Eu.
Again, thank you for your growing support!