Thursday, June 23, 2011

Help shape my book: Would news stories enhance the storytelling in Dormant?

Yesterday I didn't post a blog because things were clicking with my novel rewrites. I love it when that happens! Based on feedback from a valued beta reader, I did additional framing of my first chapter to not drop the reader quite so suddenly into the story. I really like the way it turned out.

Here's the next question I'm pondering that will impact the feel of my book. Should I continue to use news stories at the start of my chapters? The news stories would be pulled from the plot, either from that particular chapter or the preceeding chapter, depending on which would inform without giving too much away at that particular point. Here's an example of the first one in the manuscript:

Oil production halted by flu
The Sundown Oil Refinery powered down Monday as the number of workers out sick with influenza reached nearly 50 percent. This is a blow for the previously-successful pilot of a new method of oil production.
Though management is still in place, the large reduction in workforce has made it impossible to maintain safety standards. The final decision to close the plant was made when the production backlog became insurmountable. Management stress that this is only a temporary measure.
“Someone is always out sick the flu this time of year, but this is the first time we’ve had to shut down production. It just isn’t safe,” Plant Manager Derek Walker said in a statement today.

I originally intended to write a news story for each chapter, because my main character is a journalist, but I have yet to write all of the stories. To make the question even more complex, I can choose either to only include stories that Jackie would write or to also include stories from the local newspaper at the site of the original outbreak. More information about Dormant can be found on my Work in Progress page.

Please vote in the poll and comment on this post with your thoughts. The poll is now closed. I am including the results below for easy reference.

Would news stories enhance the storytelling in Dormant

  • No. News stories would distract from/reveal too much about the plot. 0%
  • No, but go ahead and include the news stories. I will just skim past them. 0%
  • Yes. News stories with every chapter will make the pandemic real/pull the reader into the plot. 67%
  • Yes, but only include news stories for chapters where Jackie would actually write them. 33%
  • Other. Please comment on my "Help shape my book" post.


    1. Hmm, I thought I posted on this already! Anyway... I think the idea to put a news story in front of each chapter is great. You could probably get away with just a headline to reduce the amount of extra writing you need to do. I think it would be better if you kept it to Jackie's stories, but that's just my opinion. :)

    2. Coral: Thanks for rewriting your comment! Interesting idea to do just a headline. I'll have to play with that option. Including only stories that Jackie writes would reduce the extra writing further. I need to dust off my news writing skills. I haven't done much of it since my college/university newspaper days, but I suspect that I would get back into the groove quickly enough.