Multiple narrators. What the heck?
Okay, so honestly, it has been a long time since I wrote a book with a single POV narrator. Like, a whole entire book. “The Tower and the Fox” is the most recent (and its sequel “The Demon and the Fox”), but before that you have to go back to…”Waterways” for anything novel-length, and “Pendant of Fortune” for a book written all at once. That’s a long time.
The OOP series falls naturally into two narrators, watching the progress of a relationship. Through that, I learned to play with dramatic tension, although I first did alternating chapters in “Shadow of the Father.” Honestly, I love using multiple narrators, and will likely do a lot more of it where I can.
In “Green Fairy,” I wanted to do something a little more like “Cloud Atlas,” where each narrator is part of a different story that affects all the others and also has a very distinct voice. This was easy to do once I had three characters with very distinct personalities. Sol is kind of my traditional everyteen hero, put upon by his parents and peers and society, who has to learn to stand up for himself. His was the narrative voice I sort of default to, though maybe a little less sarcastic than Lee, less confident than Dev, but still very contemporary. He resembles Kory more than anyone else I’ve written, I think.
Jean and Niki are different. Jean tells his story from the past, knowing the end and changing elements along the way to justify the ending. He is calculating and yet not that good at being calculating; he is blind to the fact that he cannot manipulate the people around him as well as he thinks he can, which makes him even more desperate to hold on to the one person he can manipulate with money: Niki.
Niki’s story is told in present tense, with the immediacy of dreams, and yet Niki also knows the end of his story, not for certain, but in the way that you know how a book is going to end because you’ve read all of the author’s other books. Niki is desperate to bestow love on anyone and to see love returned even where there is none, or little, and ultimately this is his downfall.
They provide an interesting set of poles for Sol to choose between: cynical and open, both desperate for love but showing it in different ways, and ultimately neither of them comes to a good end. Desperation leads to seeing love where it may not be and believing in it long after it fails, and this is the lesson Niki teaches Sol–well, one of them.
But having both of those examples open to him, seeing Jean’s manipulations laid bare and Niki’s open heart lead him astray, both of those help solidify Sol’s learning through the book. And that’s why I wanted to tell both of their stories alongside his.
Well, that and I wanted to play with the language of 1901 Paris. I did so enjoy writing those segments. ^^