March 20, 2019, 08:04:21 PM

Author Topic: How to Write Epic Style Novels  (Read 1524 times)

Offline SugoiMe

Re: How to Write Epic Style Novels
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2018, 12:48:16 AM »
I have never been able to get through John Gwynne's Malice. Large casts of characters are hard for me to keep track of too.
But... but... he keeps people in the same storyline for several chapters, only changing in big chunks
(I love that series!)

I dunno what it is! I just can't get through it! Lol
"And then the time came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anais Nin

Offline cupiscent

Re: How to Write Epic Style Novels
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2018, 02:35:18 AM »
One that I feel was very badly done (I have no interest in reading the other books in the series) was Trudi Canavan's "Thief's Magic". That book is basically split in half, with the first half telling a story, on one POV, and then it changes and we're with another POV, another story, another world, for goodness sake, with zero connection to the first! Yes, I assume in later books they get together, but I wasn't interested enough to see when and how...

Oh god, YES. I felt exactly the same about that one. I remember slogging onwards, hoping that things would link up, and then it just... didn't seem to be happening, and I gave it up.

I feel like maybe more interweaving of those storylines might have helped, actually? Like, not being quite such a big chunk, and then a big jump. Georgey Martin, after all, manages to interweave stories that are quite far apart. And he doesn't do it in big chunks.

Offline Neveesandeh

Re: How to Write Epic Style Novels
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2018, 09:26:41 AM »
Another thing to take into account is how many POVs there are. I remember planning out a massive series once with POV's all over the place. Reading back through 'A Game of Thrones' made me realise that book starts out with about eight POVs, and many of them are very close together and know each over. As the series progresses and they move apart, we get new POVs, gradually reaching a ridiculous amount, but we usually already know the characters.

If its a first book in a series, I wouldn't recommend going above eight. Even eight might be a little high.

Another interesting idea I've come across is that each plot should be an exploration of the same theme, as it helps tie the story together and also gives it a deeper meaning.

Offline Peat

Re: How to Write Epic Style Novels
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2018, 11:15:59 AM »
Another thing to take into account is how many POVs there are. I remember planning out a massive series once with POV's all over the place. Reading back through 'A Game of Thrones' made me realise that book starts out with about eight POVs, and many of them are very close together and know each over. As the series progresses and they move apart, we get new POVs, gradually reaching a ridiculous amount, but we usually already know the characters.

If its a first book in a series, I wouldn't recommend going above eight. Even eight might be a little high.

Another interesting idea I've come across is that each plot should be an exploration of the same theme, as it helps tie the story together and also gives it a deeper meaning.

This. I'd like to say its very obvious that Epic novels should start in a contained style in which the various characters interact with each other before branching off, but I've seen enough authors do otherwise that apparently its not. They think its fine to start a series with all the sprawl of The Shadow Rising. They're wrong. Well, wrong might be a little strong given how well some of them have done, but I bet they'd have done better if they'd done things the conventional way. Also, I'd like their stories more, which is the main thing damnit! Miles Cameron and Daniel Abraham, I'm looking at you.

I dislike prescriptive writing advice, and "don't do this at all" things, but I'm prepared to make a hypocrite of myself here. I guess an incredibly good writer could do it, but given that I've not seen one manage it yet and most Epic authors struggle when they get to the sprawling part of the series, maybe I mean impossibly good writer.

Which is why I'd say that I dislike PoVs swapping with chapter when characters are disunited, but am fine with it when they're together and the same characters are in each chapter.

Offline Not Lu

Re: How to Write Epic Style Novels
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2018, 04:54:48 PM »
I'd like to say its very obvious that Epic novels should start in a contained style in which the various characters interact with each other before branching off, but I've seen enough authors do otherwise that apparently its not. They think its fine to start a series with all the sprawl of The Shadow Rising. They're wrong. Well, wrong might be a little strong given how well some of them have done, but I bet they'd have done better if they'd done things the conventional way. Also, I'd like their stories more, which is the main thing damnit! Miles Cameron and Daniel Abraham, I'm looking at you.

I dislike prescriptive writing advice, and "don't do this at all" things, but I'm prepared to make a hypocrite of myself here. I guess an incredibly good writer could do it, but given that I've not seen one manage it yet and most Epic authors struggle when they get to the sprawling part of the series, maybe I mean impossibly good writer.

Which is why I'd say that I dislike PoVs swapping with chapter when characters are disunited, but am fine with it when they're together and the same characters are in each chapter.

I half way agree. I think multiple POVs can work if the characters have something in common even if they're half a world away. Books that tie the POVs closely to the plot of the book work because the plot acts as a binding between characters. Even if the characters don't know each other they're both working to solve the same problem.

Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: How to Write Epic Style Novels
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2019, 06:25:22 AM »
For me, the approach depends on how interconnected the stories are. When the characters are completely separate, I will often write their stories separately until the stories come together. Most of the time, however, the stories intertwine, so I write sequentially.