Dunk? Drown?

The conversation continues…

Does the Immediate Immersion technique limit the potential audience for fiction? Obviously it presumes on the reader’s frames of reference and familiarity with a body of sci-fi knowledge. I thoroughly enjoyed Gibson’s “Neuromancer”, Richard K. Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs novels, and Jeff VanDerMeer’s “Finch”. Admittedly, I lack the skill of those men and it’s entirely possible I fell far short in my attempt to follow suit in “Running Black”. Do you believe the ramp up and structured explanation is the better method over all to construct a fiction novel and clearly communicate the settings, themes, etc, especially for a beginning novelist?

4 Comments on “Dunk? Drown?

  1. As I said yesterday, both styles can be enjoyable. I would imagine immediate immersion does work for most readers, especially SF readers. Sometimes jumping in somewhere & wondering just what is going on in a story is half of the fun, That said, I suppose it works both ways. More than once while reading a Clancy novel I thought to myself ” I know he is telling me about this for some reason. but right now I have no idea why”
    I don’t honestly care a lot about the style. I just want a good story I can get into. Which is why I like Running Black so much. It’s gripping! never know what plot twist awaits around yonder corner. 🙂 Maybe some readers like a certain style, over others. I don’t know. I guess I am like that musically too. I like a good tune, I am not as concerned about the lyrics (up to a point) example: one my favorite bands is a German band called “Wir Sind Helden” I don’t speak German, but I love their music! I do have English translations of the lyrics, but I liked the band before I ever had a clue what they were saying. To borrow (and modify) a phrase from another favorite tale: Confusticate & bebother style! why cant they just write a good story! 🙂

    Don’t over think it my friend, you will drive yourself crazy.

  2. For an example of immediate immersion done well, see Steven Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon. The pace is relentless, and he doesn’t stop to catch the reader up to his world building before he dumps new terms on you.

    Personally, I found it to be a little hard to grok, but Wikipedia helped fill in the gaps. His style and characters were interesting enough that it made me want to commit the time/effort into reading it.

  3. I tend to open up with a “normal” scene in the main character’s life, usually frenetically busy, but for which the main character is well trained and competent. This lets the reader get their feet under them before everything goes to hell. 🙂

    With my first novel, Looking Glass, I originally laid out the world as the main character started her day (which was about to go to hell shortly after she got to work), but as I polished the story, the first chapter had no interesting hook, and nothing to grab the casual flipper-through in the bookstore. I also asserted all over the place that the main character was a complete bad-ass online, but realized that until the end of the novel, this was never shown. So I added the prologue, which takes place at the end of the previous day, is a much more typical day in the main character’s life, introduces much of the rest of the cast, and most importantly perhaps, establishes the relationships between the characters (many of whom die when things first go to hell) and my main character, so the reader knows them a little and it matters when they die.

    The events of the prologue seem like throwaways once the story starts (aka everything goes to hell), but usually they wind up mattering later on.

    Both my current novels (though not my soon-to-be-released novella) use this opening style.

    JRS

    • Odd you should mention it, the opening in “L.G.” is what hooked me to keep reading and make the purchase.

      The comment that started this was the first of its kind and really puzzled me, although since then I’m finding some readers prefer a slow ramp up into the story. Perhaps I simply didn’t do it well enough.

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