Multi-Threaded Stories: Watchmen & The Fair To Middling

This post follows a writing-group discussion about stories with several parallel protagonists. Epic fantasy examples were easy; then we wondered about other genres.

I found a few on my bookshelf, someone asked for a list, and somehow I’ve ended up writing an analysis. This took longer than I planned, so I’ve only covered a couple of examples for now:

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Mini-Review: Floating Worlds

I’ve just finished reading Floating Worlds, by Cecilia Holland. The novel follows an anarchist, Paula Mendoza, negotiating a peace treaty with what are basically “space orcs”.

There were a few things that really impressed me about this book.

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After a week of Q4: Well…

Last week, I set myself four goals for the rest of the year.

Here’s how I’ve gone so far:

  • Score 19 Mary Sue comics (estimated 1 a week). I scored about one-and-a-half comics; but it turns out I only have 11 weeks left of the year, so I need to pick up the pace.
  • Work on my programing project: no progress.
  • Write a couple of things a week: I wrote one.
  • Check in each Monday: check!

Rather than the programming I’d planned, I spent the weekend reading The Rook. It’s a book with a slightly different take on the amnesiac protagonist, but what I really liked about it was the way O’Malley uses little side-stories to fill out the details of the world.

Good luck and happy writing!

Books with Patterns

I read two books this week: The Wise Man’s Fear (by Patrick Rothfuss), and Thraxas at the Races (by Martin Scott). By coincidence, they’re both second books of trilogies.

I actually started The Wise Man’s Fear some time ago, but I set it aside half-way through, and only recently got back to it. Because of that, I had to go back and re-read the beginning to understand what was going on.

As a result, I noticed a lot of repeated events.

Many of these have a kind of symmetry — situations from early on re-occur with roles reversed. In general, these gave me the impression that Kvothe was becoming wiser and more experienced, although a few of them cut against the trend.

Thraxas at the Races uses references of a different kind: things the narrator tells us are unlikely keep happening anyway. This didn’t make much sense until I realised they were hinting at his false assumptions.

I’m not sure which approach I prefer more. The Wise Man’s Fear definitely made a bigger impact on me, and I’ve always liked the symbolism of reversed reflections; but I imagine both of these could be effective techniques.

Good luck and happy writing!