It’s no secret by now that I’ve been struggling, not only to find time to write, but with the writing itself. It’s been going a little faster lately. If you think about the last few months, I feel I compare nicely to a tired old horse with a sway back, hip bones protruding, coat dull and dusty, dragging my hooves across an unpaved road. Now I’ve upgraded to something more like a cart horse. Slow moving, but the work is getting done. I no longer look as if I’ll pop the clogs anytime soon.
While things have marginally improved, I’m still not at my best. The truth is I’m finding it really tricky to get into a groove with this book, which isn’t helped by flipping settings every couple of chapters. One of my characters might be found riding the subway, talking on her cell, or spacing out in front of the TV. The other character is learning the ins and outs of Ancient Greek weaponry, and fighting to stop a war that history has already written. I’m not sure you could get a starker contrast, and it feels like culture shock every time I have to switch up my thinking.
It will be very interesting when we finally get to read this draft altogether, instead of in pieces like it is now. The big question will be, does this flow? And if not, how can we link these scenes in a way that feels like one cohesive narrative?
There are techniques to use for this: You can use foreshadowing to create hints of the links between plot events; you can paint a picture of the contrasts and similarities that exist between the characters’ lives; you can use repetition of words or phrases to fade into the next chapter. These create a smooth transition. As for mindset, I have begun employing a technique I often use when I am tackling several projects at once. I’ve now assigned each character a font and style, in the hopes it will help my brain tune in faster when I switch from one character to another. Hopefully it will help my productivity!
Do you have tips for moving between characters (or between projects) in vastly different settings? Let me know in the comments below.