Friday, June 21, 2013

Complex Structures and Multiple Storylines--Authors Are Experimenting with Next Steps for Their Books

Have you noticed the trend?  Books are getting more complex--not just in their storylines but also in their structures.  Could be a reflection of how our brains are changing (see The Shallows:  What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr).  Or our desire to reinvent literature once more.

But what's best for your book?  Are you eager for the edge in structure or storyline?  Here's a short history of where we've been and a forecast of where we might be going, with some ways to analyze where your book fits into it all.

Multiple Narrators Become Woven Structures
Only fifteen years ago, when Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible was published, we were awed by a story told from six or seven viewpoints.  Each member of the Price family contributed their own version of the voyage from Georgia to be missionaries in the Belgian Congo.