• Mulitple narrators

    27 May 2021

    A fan called Samantha shared the following post on the Darren Shan Discussions fan page on Facebook a while back, and noted:

     

    "I kiiiind of felt like this everytime the Demonata series was from Kernel's POV lol. It's not that I didn't like him or his parts of the stories, but I just liked Grubbs and Bec's stories/books so much more. Anyone feel like that for any characters?"

     

    I can certainly see where Samantha is coming from, because I've had this reaction as a reader with other books or series in the past, where the focus has shifted between narrators or main characters, and where I've felt some were more interesthing than others. But at the same time I've read books and series where the variety has been a joy, and a key to the stories working as well as they did.

     

    As a writer, I usually like to keep my focus tight, normally on one main character, and usually from that character's perspective in a first person narrative -- the Cirque Du Freak books, Zom-B, The Thin Executioner, Archibald Lox... But in my books for adults I HAVE played with multiple narrators or main characters as well, in The City Trilogy, and in a couple of my Darren Dash books -- The Evil And The Pure, and Midsummer's Bottom.

     

    The Demonata is the only time I've gone with multiple narrators on the YA front. It wasn't intentional -- I wrote Lord Loss as a one-off, then had the idea for Bec and wrote that next, again as a stand-alone story, with only the character of Lord Loss linking it to the first book -- I had no plans to link the actual stories. But then I had ideas for a few more Grubbs stories, and I saw that there WAS a way to weave Bec's book into the tapestry of the overall story, but it needed a third narrator to really make it work, which led me to come up with Kernel and Demon Thief -- the second book published, but actually the sixth that I wrote.

     

    As I said, I didn't plan to write a series with three narrators, but I think that's a large part of what ultimately made The Demonata work so well. If it had just been Grubbs Grady -- as I thought at one stage it would have to be -- I don't think it would have had the same kind of impact. The Demonata is a WILD ride, and the bouncing around between narrators plays a vital part in keeping readers off-balance and unsure of exactly where they are in the main storyline, and with little idea of what's coming next.

     

    In short, while I'm sure there are plenty of fans like Samantha who have a favourite out of the three Demonata narrators, or one who they didn't really click with, in my opinion it would have been a lesser series without all three -- and, hey, when it comes to MY books, MY opinion rules, right?!? :-) :-) :-)

     

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