Jan 18, 2024 Post

Welcome to this week’s adventures in storytelling, where I’ll offer up my Story of the Week and also ask a question that will help me as I craft my novel. Let’s start with the story (prompt supplied by an anonymous lawyerly neighbor).

Visiting Uncle Wes is Always a Trip

The mini-van parked at Uncle Wes’s cabin.

“Remember, kids,” Dad said, “no making fun of his latest inventions. He’s… different.”

“We know,” Xander said. “Right, Celeste?”

“Right,” his sister replied.

Minutes later, Wes revealed his newest creation. “He’s the perfect blend of a dog and cat. He’s a ‘cog,’ or maybe a ‘dat.’ Catches Frisbees and climbs trees!”

“Beautiful flowers,” Mom said, quickly changing subjects.

“Get back!” Wes shouted. “Those’re my skunk roses!”

Too late.

Once back in the stinking van, dad ignited the booster. The family’s gills returned, and they blasted into space.

“For an earthling,” Xander said, “he’s cool.”

Prompt: Strange progeny

Here’s my question for the masses, and I really would love to get as much feedback as possible from those of you who read novels. If you have an opinion (and who doesn’t?), please feel free to drop me a quick line with your thoughts. I’m not going to do it in poll form since I want to hear whatever you have to say. Here’s my dilemma regarding my first novel. In screenwriting and novel writing, the classic model typically involves a well-defined single protagonist who has a very specific goal. Think characters like James Bond, Jack Reacher, Inspector Gamache, etc. There are obvious exceptions (like rom-coms or buddy stories that usually have two main characters), but the average story—at least the ones where people hope for commercial success, follow the main character model. Another—but less common model—is the ensemble, a story featuring a collection of characters. Think Star Wars, Harry Potter, Fast & Furious, etc.

Here’s my question: When you read a book series (something I’d like to create), do you have a preference? Single character or character collection? Feel free to drop me a single line or an explanation, possibly including an example of which series you prefer (if, in fact, you have a preference). If you like both models, that would be helpful as well.

That’s it. I’d love to know what you think. Next week I’ll let you know what I’ve learned from you and which direction I think I think I’ll go with draft two of Questionable Characters.

As always, thanks for listening.

Scotty out

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