Interludes; views and opinions.

I dont really have a question, but I would like to hear how people feel about interludes.

They aren't my favorite thing to read and I'm really disliking writing any but readers seem to expect that sort of thing.

Well, they're certainly not mandatory. I don't tend to see them so much in printed books; they seem to be a web fiction thing. But not all stories have them.

You mean the type of interludes that are from the point of view of a minor character, right?

My favourite ever Worm chapter was an interlude. It was quite early on actually; the one when Bitch and Brutus go break up a dogfighting match. I liked the dog's eye view of things ;-)

As far as I can tell interludes have become expected in web fiction. In concept I like them but my opinions on actual interludes varies. Worm interludes were good but some others I have encountered not so much.

My own interlude was fun to write and seemed to be well received, people also seemed to think I used it as an opportunity to introduce a big bad. The interlude I am struggling with right now, not so much fun. When I do finish it, I think it will go over well. If I could get more feedback from my readers I might have a better idea of how well or not.

I do mean from a different viewpoint, although not necessarily a minor character, I should have been clearer.

I did one from a random guys view, it wasn't a story thing as such. Just an experiment to see if I could do it.

I got a comment today that seems to be begging for an interlude. It along with a very strange, read unpleasant and nonsensical, comment yesterday have made look at potentially doing more but I find myself resisting.

It really depends on your story. It seems several webfics who are told in first person use them as an opportunity to give a different point of view and let the reader see things that the main character isn't aware of, but if your story isn't first person I don't really see a need for a special category for chapters utilizing less central characters as POV.

In my story I had a few chapters like that (or parts of chapters) and I didn't differentiate them from the rest of the story.

Be that as it may, I think the kind of interlude that introduces a character as a POV character for one chapter only is very challenging to make work. You need to make the readers care about the conflicts and challenges of a new character in a very short time. This can be very tricky. I find that Wildbow pulls this off successfully most of the time, and that's pretty impressive, but generally speaking, while reading Worm, and now while reading Pact, my instinct is to prefer having a regular chapter rather than one of the interludes. Of course I understand that much of the depth of the story would be lost without the interludes, but I find almost every interlude to be somewhat disorienting when it starts. A bit like starting a new novel. It breaks the flow.

So - use with caution I guess...

Ski: My story is in first person. So poor Tristan(my mc) only has a limited view on things. It will expand naturally as we follow him through his journey. I have doubts about expanding the view, mainly because it is a web thing. It's not something that feels natural.

I've always felt interludes break the immersion and I'm not really a fan of multiple points of view. They often feel like they are there to explain things which while interesting could be done in a different way.

I typically like interludes, but I do understand how they could feel interruptive. Is your hold up that you don't want to write one (in which case, don't. It's you story!), or that you worry it will interrupt the flow of your story for the readers? If you're concerned about interrupting the story, but feel an interlude could add something to the plot, may I humbly suggest my solution?

I initially had interludes (I call them "alternative perspectives") in the midst of my story, but because I was concerned some readers might be bothered by them, I removed them... and gave them their own tab. I let readers know at the bottom of the post that precedes the alternative perspective that one is available, and direct them to where they can read it. Not sure if people appreciate it or not, since I don't really get any comments on my story, but I think it's a fairly workable solution to the problem.

For me, at least, writing an interlude is an entirely selfish act. I've been writing LoN for about 7 years now. It's written in first person from the point of view of one character, and I have limited time to write. As a result, LoN is the only outlet in terms of writing that I have. So, when I got to the end of a two year storyline that was more or less endless cliffhangers from December through May, I actually used the next year to write three short stories and a couple novellas instead. Most of those were told from the perspective of people other than my main character.

They also introduced elements of the story that have since become highly important.

Still, their main purpose was to cleanse the palate. Introducing important story elements was more of a bonus.

Personally, I'd say, do it if it sounds fun to you. Don't bother if it doesn't. You're writing because you like writing. You're not dependant on people's goodwill to make a living off it. Thus, do what you'll enjoy doing and what serves the story best.

That said, if it's your only writing outlet at the moment, you might be best served by experimenting with your writing, trying new perspectives, new points of view (first person, third person limited, third person "omnipotent," past vs. present tense...) and so on. Short stories and interludes are great that way, exposing you to new options in storytelling.

The best thing about it is that if it doesn't work at least it'll be over soon.

Interesting question!

I haven't ever been asked for interludes, but that might be because I alter my POV character from time to time anyway. They're always part of the story, though, not what I would call an interlude or optional extra.

Fictional blogging kinda lends itself to this, if you want it to. In the Apocalypse Blog, I had a friend of the MC write a few posts, mostly to take a break from the MC. She was in a particularly dark place, and while it was in character, it was starting to bog the story down. So dropping in another POV helped lighten the tone a bit. Using someone other than the MC also allowed me to tell a particularly emotional part of the story that the MC was pretty much too incoherent to talk about, too.

In Starwalker, it's pretty common for log entries from other characters to crop up (shards of the captain's log, engineer's log, etc). It depends who's best placed to tell a particular part of the story, or who might add an interesting perspective on something. It's very much part of the way the story is told, though, so they're not really interludes either.

The closest I've got is the shorts I did on the main Starwalker cast (mostly flashbacks into character backgrounds). Readers react pretty well to them and seem keen, but I've never been asked to do more in place of the main story. I struggle to do anything 'extra' at the moment, so that's probably a good thing!

In answer to the original post, though, it's your story. You're not obliged to write anything but what you want. If you write an interlude, have some fun with it. It's a great chance to explore something outside your usual stream of writing.

Preface, there's a good chance I'm not entirely sure what an interlude is in this context, but from these responses I'm assuming it's something like a one-off from the point of view of different characters than usual?

If that's right, I don't know if Caelum Lex really has any interludes. It's rather...made up entirely of interludes since we switch perspectives and characters pretty much all the time. But I can say that the reason we do that is mostly 'because we feel like it'. I think Jim's right, it's a selfish thing. When we switch perspectives or when we even switch which spaceship we're focusing on, it's mostly because the story calls for it, of course, but it's also in large part because we've grown tired of writing the other one for now.

Since we (and I think a lot of us here) write these things for enjoyment and our own personal fulfillment, we try to stick to the rule that we only write it if it excites us. If it doesn't excite us, we probably won't write it very well anyway and our readers won't like it either. If that means writing one character one day and another the next, go for it. If that means sticking with the same character through the whole plot, totally cool. So to echo basically everyone else 'do wat you want bro!'

Generally speaking, an interlude is a chapter or a few chapters that step away from the main story, usually by showing a different place, time, and/or character.

I used interludes because I wanted a way to punctuate the narrative. Left alone, there's nothing to really break up the reams of text.

I'm going to put this in the simplest terms possible:

Don't do it if you don't want to. Seriously, when I was little, we had an assembly at school about peer pressure every year, and I'm pretty sure that this is exactly what it is. And what did they always say at these assemblies? DON'T GIVE IN TO PEER PRESSURE.

Seriously, just do what you want. You do it for free, and if they have a problem with that little piece of the way you're telling the story, they can get the f*** over it.

Weirdly, as a reader I'm not a huge fan of interludes over normal chapters, unless they progress things at least a little bit. I get invested in the main characters so much I'm eager to find out what happens. Having an interlude is frustrating because I'm not going to find out till next week (or similar). I'm usually happy if it's a side-character *in* the main plot though, doing plot things.

But... when writing... I really like them. Getting to write from a different perspective is a great way for me to get motivated again. It's a pleasant break, an inch of freedom from trying to mash the words into a coherent plot. It can be a bit different, a bit unconnected. I can write them three months in advance and have them sitting for that day when I really can't budge the main character.

From the perspective of a writer, writing Worm's interludes was easy and comfortable. It was easier because I was often drawing from sample drafts I wrote before settling on the character I did. It was comfortable because it was a change of pace, and I didn't have to connect it to what came before or after.

In terms of how the readership took to them, I found it was consistently better for views & the donations that followed (I frequently get a handful of donations after a chapter goes live.)

I believe, on the whole, readers like them. Having them as a donation bonus does seem to be a good way to go Wildbow: Those that aren't such a big fan aren't missing out on the story progression as it's 'extra' material. Those that love them have an incentive to donate!

As a whole, they do work as donation incentives. That said, I admittedly fell into the trap of doing too many, and it did break up the story some in one stretch (around arc 19-22 or something).

Just keep in mind that interludes should remain interludes. Doing 2-3 at the end of an arc is ok. Doing 2-3 in the middle of an arc makes things unwieldy.

Thank you all for you views. They have been very helpful.