I’ve made a decision – and it feels good.
In telling Maggie’s story, I’ve also been telling Ben and Tom’s story. The thing is, I’ve been telling Maggie’s story from her perspective.
So when Maggie returns to Iowa, how do I continue to tell Ben and Tom’s story? The three friends are experiencing World War II from different vantage points. Maggie is on the home front, Ben and his family are interned, and Tom is fighting in Europe. Plus, Ben and Maggie are in love. Their story can’t end with his internment in the spring of 1942.
I ruled out the ‘send a letter’ technique early in the game. Too…I don’t know…easy a solution.
Another choice was the ‘Picoult Solution’ – telling the same story from three perspectives wasn’t original (see Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper) and would have turned my book into a 3-volume epic.
Instead, I took the middle road: the occasional excerpt from a letter with short chapters from Ben and Tom’s perspective when appropriate.
My first challenge is to make this solution the only reasonable choice – comfortable and clear for my readers. My next challenge is to make certain Ben and Tom have their own, distinct voice. After all, the choices they make, how they experience the war, changes their lives forever.