Friday, October 10, 2014

A Cascading Climax

Behind the Story of Threat Multiplication (Part 8)

Warning:  this post contains spoilers for Certain Hypothetical and Threat Multiplication (though hopefully not for future books in the series) and I recommend reading those books first.

Also be warned that this shows the ‘sausage-making’ aspect of writing, which some of you may not want to know about.

After sorting out how I would order the story early on, it was relatively easy to know what chapter should come next as I bounced back and forth between the divided storylines.  But as those came together, knowing how best to portray all the elements of the climax was more difficult.

Threat Multiplication was already taking place over a more compressed time frame than Certain Hypothetical, and because of the way the FURCS’ enemies had laid out their various plots, the different climaxes piled on top of each other over a very short period of time – about an hour and a half.  It was no longer possible for me to tell the story as it happened.  Not and keep the one character POV chapter structure I’d been using up to then.

One option would have been to end with a couple really long chapters that bounced around between different POVs and thus try to capture the real-time unfolding of events as they occurred in different locations.  I didn’t think that was necessary though.  Although the different storylines of the various characters were coming together, they were still somewhat separate.

Kat and her adventures outside the FURC remained there until the end – it was just that Tony moved from what was happening inside to become a part of Kat’s story, as MacTierney and the rest were coming inside to become part of the plot that had been unfolding inside the compound.

So I tried to stick as close to the chronological order as I could.  After the chapter with Kat’s mad diversion and that wild chase, I started the next with what would’ve been happening in the middle of all that, as Tony started putting together the disparate pieces of what had been happening.  Then David’s chapter backed up a bit in time to start with what he’d been doing while that was going on.  Since that ended with Tony leaving the compound, I had to begin Kat’s last chapter in what would’ve been the middle of David’s.  And then…

Writing this the first time through, it came out different.  After ending Kat’s final scene with that same sort of cliffhanger, I then switched to Lisa’s POV to start with MacTierney and the rest making it back into the FURC, which had taken place shortly after Kat’s crash, and ended it right after Lisa had dealt with Lacey, in what would’ve been the middle of Tony’s last chapter, which I wrote next and ended with him bringing Kat back into the FURC and seeing that from his perspective.

But I decided that would be too cruel, to have Lisa’s chapter in-between those final scenes from Kat’s POV and Tony’s.  So when I rewrote the story, I jiggled things around a bit.
Next:  Part 9 – The Final Version

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