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Petroglyph
02-08-2007, 09:32 PM
In my WIP, my protagonist is involved in solving a murder (how original, huh?). The murder is related to a treasure hunt. There is a story about how the treasure got to this certain place and why it is so important. I need to tell that story, but I am at a crossroads about how to incorporate it. One option would be through a journal written by one of the hiders. But I think a book within a book might be very lame. The other option would be to alternate chapters, present day and 1598. Not a lot of journals would have survived from 1598, do you think? Which method would appeal to you more, as a reader? I am leaning toward alternating chapters to show what was happening then and what is happening now.

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

alleycat
02-08-2007, 09:35 PM
I take it the story about the treasure is quite involved? In other words, it's going to take more than two or three paragraphs to explain?

I can give you some more options if you like.

Carmy
02-08-2007, 09:46 PM
The thought of alternating chapters, some from 1598, appeals to me, but then - I love anything historical.

Petroglyph
02-08-2007, 10:03 PM
Hi alleycat,
The idea for the treasure came out of a "what if" moment I had after reading about a real historical event. One of the characters in my novel is an 18 year old history major with who talks nonstop. So he could provide some of the details about the historical event. I think this event is so tragic and so telling that I would like to bring it to life from the viewpoint of a young girl. This girl would have written a journal years later. Plus I have this horrible habit of finishing a novel with just 45K words. Another 25K fleshing out the occurances (a massacre and its sequelae) would help me reach my word count goal. Anything from her point of view would be difficult for me personally, because I would want it to be historicly accurate, which is more challenging in a longer narration vs. my underage drinker Connor just yammering about a massacre in yesteryear. But I have also done a lot of research about this massacre (I schlepped to the uni and read dissertations and so on....the primary sources are beyond me, cause my Spanish is not that great). I think I could pull it off. I would be very interested in your other ideas!!!

Thanks, Carmy. I too love historical stuff...I would love to tell the story of what happened in 1598. The "losers" in history have their tragedies minimized and tucked away in the annals of the victors.

Soccer Mom
02-09-2007, 12:37 AM
I favor the alternating chapters. I love historical mysteries and that would be more appealing than the "Book within a book" which is often lame.

Petroglyph
02-09-2007, 12:50 AM
Thanks for the feedback, Soccer Mom (I am currently a track, cheerleading, & taekwondo mom). I am leaning that way...

aadams73
02-09-2007, 03:39 AM
I favor the alternating chapters. I love historical mysteries and that would be more appealing than the "Book within a book" which is often lame.

I totally second this!

Cathy C
02-09-2007, 04:02 AM
What you might try is creating a prologue in the style of Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt series ("Atlantis Found", "Raise the Titantic", etc.) He has successfully created a style where the Prologue happens in the past. It's often an eloquent, dozen page section or even more where you discover right at the front what happened. But what he doesn't tell you is WHERE the events happen. Often the people who are hiding the loot are completely and totally lost, or bound to silence that they'll take to their grave. The "where" is what the hero discovers. He's also very skilled at sucking the reader into that past world, which is never a bad thing to learn. :)

veinglory
02-09-2007, 04:21 AM
The treasure has to get there, but is that process really part of the story?

JDCrayne
02-09-2007, 06:39 AM
Alternating chapters appeals to me too. You don't have to have a book; it could be some manuscript pages written on parchment from royal archives, a monastery, etc. etc.

Petroglyph
02-09-2007, 06:40 AM
The treasure has to get there, but it that process really part of the story?

That is a really good question and I am going to ponder it. My initial response is yes, because the story behind the treasure influences my MC's decision about what to do with the treasure. It has intrinsic and historical value, and she needs the money....but ultimately respect for the history of the treasure will cause her to leave the treasure where it is. Unless the bad guy can convince her otherwise.

That is something to carefully consider, though.

Petroglyph
02-09-2007, 06:42 AM
What you might try is creating a prologue in the style of Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt series ("Atlantis Found", "Raise the Titantic", etc.) He has successfully created a style where the Prologue happens in the past. It's often an eloquent, dozen page section or even more where you discover right at the front what happened. But what he doesn't tell you is WHERE the events happen. Often the people who are hiding the loot are completely and totally lost, or bound to silence that they'll take to their grave. The "where" is what the hero discovers. He's also very skilled at sucking the reader into that past world, which is never a bad thing to learn. :)

Hi Cathy C! Thanks for the suggestion. I know I have Atlantis Found around here somewhere. I've been planning to avoid a prologue, but that might be just the ticket...Much to consider!

Thanks, aadams and JD. I read a really good mystery where the current plot was interchanged with historical chapters and I enjoyed the back and forth. I could never decide when to put it down, cause the author had cliffhanger after cliffhanger....darn if I can recall the author or the title right now, though!

Any journalling done by this girl as an adult would occur in a Mexico City convent. At the very least, a page from her journal at the very end, showing that she had found some peace would be very satisfying. I am cheaply pleased by satisfying endings.

Jenan Mac
02-09-2007, 07:02 AM
The alternating chapters thing worked pretty well in "The Eight"-- also a story about how a treasure got where it did, essentially.

JDCrayne
02-10-2007, 04:19 AM
The alternating chapters thing worked pretty well in "The Eight"-- also a story about how a treasure got where it did, essentially.

Ah yes, The Eight. That's the book which has a entire chapter about two women (and a small dog) wandering around in the desert, in danger of dying of thirst, which accomplishes nothing and ends by taking them back to where they were at the end of the previous chapter. I could only assume, after reading it, that the author needed additional word count.

Petroglyph
02-10-2007, 06:05 AM
When Tony Hillerman needs to add to his word count, he describes clouds. Or so the rumor goes.

Jenan, thanks for the tip on that book. I'll check it out.