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Ratha's Island 03

By rath8325 - Posted on 18 August 2009

Then, this email started me thinking.  It contained an idea from Jaqueline Simmonds, of Beagle Bay, the distributor for Imaginator Press.

From Sheila Ruth, 1/21/2009

"I also wanted to pass along a suggestion from Jacqueline for you to think about. She loves the idea of the ClanChirps, but was wondering if it would be possible for you to come up with a story with a little more "hook" - something that would draw people in who haven't read the series and get them interested."

Another phenomenon that impelled me was the growing popularity of cellphone novels, which were hot in Japan

I began thinking about this. First, decisions. Continue in the ClanChirps format, which was dialog only, or blend the Chirps in with some description? Should I try straight narration? I noticed that some authors who were using narrative chose first person (the “I”) seemed to have more Twitter followers and that those who worked in other modes weren't quite as successful. Seeing comments that indicated that readers were getting confused and dropping out of twitted tales made me look for reasons and I found them.

Readers said that multiple characters and multiple viewpoints made it difficult to follow what was going on, especially when they got one or two tweets per day. They lost track of who was saying what, and which events and description applied to which people. By using the screenplay-like format, grouping Tweets in blocks, and keeping to a regular timed twice-a-day schedule (12 noon and 6 PM), I had avoided many pitfalls.

However, much of the richness in the Ratha books comes from narrative and description, which the ClanChirps couldn't easily sustain. The idea of a longer piece was to provide a taste of the series, encouraging more people to read the books. It had to be narrative. For some reason I did not even consider using first person. Perhaps it was because the series uses standard third-person limited viewpoint for clarity, venturing only into a “pseudo first-person” to give a glimpse into a mind that was very different than that of the conscious Named. I had done that with Quiet Hunter in Ratha's Challenge, and Night-who-eats-Stars in Ratha's Courage, but it was a very intense mode, to be used sparingly.

So the pieces began falling into place. The Twitter fiction would read like the books, or as close as possible, given the 140 character limitation. The number of main players would have to be severely limited, to make events clear. I decided to go with one clan-cat viewpoint character and concentrate on that individual's experiences and reactions.

That choice imposed some story restrictions. I could not have a complex plot, with a lot of antagonist-protagonist and subsidiary character interactions, without risking confusion. The story would have to be simpler, involving one Named cat off by themselves, trying to explore or do something that would intrigue a reader's interest. What would that something be?

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CB photo - color

Join other Named Series fans on the Ratha Series Forum.  Hunt up information in the Fire Den, read the new Twitter creation, "Ratha's Island", or strut before the clan to introduce yourself in the Fire Dance.

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