Two Lines No Waiting - How to handle it?:

Total posts: [3]
1 JackMackerel4th Oct 2010 11:29:57 PM from SOME OBSCURE MEDIA
Two of my stories in progress are planning to use this - technically, the latter is using three lines.

The first follows a special ops Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits sent into the heart of a zombie infestation to investigate several companies that might have accidentally or purposefully caused the entire mess, and to rescue any subjects of interest. The second thread follows a US Marine officer leading a detachment of (obviously) US Marines as part of a giant UN taskforce sent to deal with the zombies. The writing style and pace for both are different - the first line is more Left 4 Dead, the second, more World War Z.

The problem is, my early draft was criticized for not making it clear whenever the narrative would switch (even though they were always preceded by spaces in between paragraphs and establishing who was being focused on within the first few lines), and switching between action-heavy sequences, even if both narratives are dealing with combat, has been something that's always irked me about modern combat stories.

The second is a script of three different narratives during a very alternate World War II. The first focuses on a normal Canadian Army captain placed in charge of an unholy mess of mercenaries, special forces, corporate soldiers, resistance fighters, spies, and regular troopers in the midst of World War II. The second followed a US Army sergeant on the frontlines, who would often get entangled with the first group's antics, much to his misfortune. The third followed a Waffen-SS officer in charge of a coalition unit consisting of German, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish soldiers, made to prove to the Axis populace that We ARE Struggling Together.

It's a script, so the differences are a lot more workable, but there's one large problem - the first narrative was very anime-like, with bizarre characters and weapons out the wazoo (someone uses a chainsword, even), the second was a general subversion of the typical "War Is Hell and everyone is a psycho" war movie, and the third was a deconstruction of Alternate History and to humanize the Axis a bit.

Any suggestions?
2 SilentReverence5th Oct 2010 12:20:00 AM from 3 tiles right 1 tile up
adopting kitteh
Two overall suggestions from me:

1.- Support the changes in narrative with changes in "narrating". Jump from action to quoting, or viceversa. Link the end of a section and the beginning of the next with an independent "icon" whose description oe effect changes from one section to the next (like, a far away Big Ben style clock tower, or a sudden news broadcast about the zombies). If the plot allows you to, abruptly switch descriptive stances or styles between sections. Finishing a section on a quick, "we don't have time to look at the landscape" note and starting the next with something equivalent to Contemplate Our Navels will surprise dulled/tired readers enough that will make them notice the switch and adapt accordingly.

2.- Use the medium to your advantage. If you are writing for the web, remember hypermedia is far more than "text and links". Since I don't know your posting methode... Posting on a BB Code-based forum? Use its HTML-tag facilities to provide visual breaks and change of indeitations that make it obvious that a next section is to follow. Uploading to FF.net? Their file upload allows for rulers and table-based section markers. Don't limit yourself to "maybe if I can insert more spaces" when we are in 2010 already — you readers won't be...

edited 5th Oct '10 12:20:59 AM by SilentReverence

On the narrative transition, since the piece is military in nature, you could go with the "Time.Place.Person" Header.

Some writers don't like using it, but to each his own.
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Total posts: 3