Thursday, 23 July 2009

Stories Within Stories

I was chatting with a writing friend on the tube the other day, she'd just had this idea about a crime novel where the killer leaves clues in a web log. This got me thinking about my own crime novel, Blood on the Rooftops. I also have a blog-related part to my story, though in my case it's a victim's blog rather than the killer's.

I want to take this idea further and create a story inside the blog, a bit like Asteroid inside this blog (more of that coming later in the year), along with the crime-related stuff. It gives me an opportunity to step outside the crime genre, whilst remaining in the same book; something that would normally be difficult to pull off and remain potentially marketable. I'm thinking my story within a story will be a romantic comedy or spoof. Do you think it's a good idea, or should the genres be strictly kept to their own bookshelves?

Are there any well-known stories that contain other stories? Have you written a story within a story, or would you consider doing so?

Hands drawing hands.

Captain's Computer Tips

There don't seem to be any burning requests, so I'll take a break from these articles for the time being. I have a few ideas for more, including:

  • Safety & security related tips: avoiding malware, phishing, spoof sites, spam, etc.
  • Web site design.
  • More HTML.
  • Other web technologies *.

Please let me know if any of the above would be of interest, or indeed anything else you can think of that's computer related.

On Holiday

Next week I'll be on holiday. A Writers' Holiday to be precise. That means I'll probably be "off the grid" for a while. See you when I get back.


Anonymous said...

Cool! I'll be going to the Writers Holiday too!

Gonna be a writer said...

What courses will you be following? Enjoy!

HelenMHunt said...

I'm sure there must be loads of stories within stories, but frustratingly I can't think of any. Will let you know if inspiration strikes.

Calistro said...

There are often romances within crime novels but they are sub-plots rather than genres within genres.

Agents/publishers/booksellers do like to be able to pigeon hole the genre of a book - crime OR romance for example. I've seen quite a few threads in my writing forum where aspiring authors have had feedback from agents suggesting that novels that are neither one genre or another are hard to place with publishers.

Obviously you should write what you are compelled to write but if you write with one eye on publication it's probably a good idea to stick within a genre.

Debs said...

I'm off on the Writers' Holiday too, so shall see you there. I'll be the blonde with the perpetually confused look on her face. Looking forward to going though.

I like the idea of stories within stories, but (of course) can't think of any right now.

ChrisH said...

Enjoy the holiday. Happy writing.

On the computer lessons front I'm generally so ignorant about the tekkie stuff that I don't ven know what to suggest - but more html stuff would be good. (Happy with any little gems you'd care to pass on!).

Anonymous said...

BattyPip: Hey, that's excellent. See you there!

Gonna B: Thanks, I'm doing novel writing with Jane Pollard and crime writing with Lesley Horton.

Helen: I couldn't think of any either. I was going to say The French Lieutenant's Woman but the "outside" story was added to the film and not in the original book. I didn't like it anyway.

Calistro: I mean a nested story rather than sub-plot, since the characters in each cannot interact. I also want the styles to be very different. I think I'll go forward with the idea but eventually submit the book under "crime". The extra rom-com story will just be a bonus for the reader, perhaps pitched as a USP?

Debs: See you Sunday.

ChrisH: I'm sure I'll enjoy wh@c, I did last year. Perhaps I'll do a brief report here when I get back. I'll do more HTML stuff if there's demand but I may move on to other subjects for the next article.

Denise said...

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood has a story within it, but I actually found it quite annoying! I wanted to know what was really going on, rather than the lengthy sections of this alternate story. Oddly the story within is science fiction which I would usually enjoy, whilst the main one follows the life of 2 sisters and I'm not sure I could place it as anything more specific than literary fiction. Wikipedia seems to have a lot to say on the subject!

Annieye said...

The White Cuckoo has a prologue and epilogue set in 1910 and the main story is set in the present time. Barbara Erskine 'The Warrior's Princess' (haven't read it yet) is, I think, written in the way you suggest.

Anonymous said...

Denise: Thanks for the Wikipedia tip. You're right, there's a big article on the subject. I've never read any Margaret Atwood. Do you recommend any?

Annie: I think stories surrounded by prologue and epilogue are not really nested stories, as such. They're more like extended main stories. I was really talking about two (or more) different stories inside each other. I haven't read any Barbara Erskine.