Every once in a while, you get a revolutionary type of presentation in a pre-existing format. Movies have been on the “Part 1 and Part 2” train since Harry Potter first proved it was feasible back in 2010. Most recently, Avengers: Endgame is the “Part 2” to Infinity War’s “Part 1”. But while many stories have told the beginning and end in two parts, what about telling the story simultaneously with two parts?
I have to be careful with this, because it wouldn’t take much to consider it nothing more than a method to cash in on an existing trend. But as I drafted and outlined novels past my first one (Grand Contingency), it soon became clear that I would need to reconsider the way I tell the next story, or I would have an Order of the Phoenix sized doorstop for a book.
Nothing is replacing my Dobby doorstop, anyway.
So, I can’t exactly explain why I feel this would be necessary without elaborating on my story a little bit, so here’s that.
The next story in the Godreign series, set in the modern era 130 years after the events of Grand Contingency. Despite being the second and third installments, these novels take place almost entirely at the same time, chronologically.
Sometime in the 20th century, the Godreign was found, and neither Zach Edwards or Annabelle d’Armientieres were around to prevent the successful summon of the Neutral Weapon, a living being said to rival the Higher Powers in terms of divine energy. This triggered The Fall; an era of calculated attacks that not only left death and destruction in its wake, but left many countries in states of helplessness. This went on for seven years, after which the Neutral Weapon became dormant. Not wanting to waste any time before it returned, the most brilliant minds of the world began planning to rebuild, recover, and prepare a strategy in case the Neutral Weapon ever returned.
Dynatronic Energy Solutions, was at the helm of this recovery effort, and soon became a monopoly on the PowerPotential Energy that proved vital to rebuilding efforts in many countries. When protests of their mistreatment began to grow, a terrorist organization known as the Assembly began staging terorrist acts. Dynatronic formed a private army, known as the Task Force to protect their investments.
Gryphons tells the story of the titicular Gryphons, an international unit of special forces operators who are under contract with the DES Task Force due to unclear circumstances. With their advanced flight suits and mastery of both Tempest and Acquiescent Artes, they lead the fight against the Assembly through various missions that strike at the heart of their operation. But when they are hunted down by the Task Force after discovering the true reason behind The Fall, they set off on a personal campaign to not only prove their innocence, but to ensure a future where the Godreign never returns.
Cairdrys is an android, or at least she thinks she is. She doesn’t remember much of her origins before becoming the latest member of the Gryphons, and the only being ever capable of using both Tempest and Acquiescent Artes. After waking up years after her last mission nearly destroyed her internals, she finds her internal memory being occupied by an unknown set of tasks, leaving her unable to access the set of abilities that defined her. As she slowly recovers her abilities, she also regains memories of the past, and as the Gryphons fight against the Assembly, her past may prove vital to a future without the Neutral Weapon.
Guardians tells the simultaneous story of the Praetorian Guard, a highly disciplined unit of bodyguards who protect the leader of the DES Task Force; the mysterious Imperator Commandalia, and their Praefector second-in-command, Cecelia Silvestre.
When Task Force newcomer “Wolf” Albrecht saves the Praefector’s niece from assassination, he finds himself as the newest member of the Guard. It is a position that he is not interested in accepting, does so to ensure the continued safety of his blind sister Sieglinde, a prodigy in the medical Acquiescent Artes. After accidentally discovering the identity of the Imperator, he becomes thrust into a battle on two fronts; one to stop the terrorist Assembly from activating the Neutral Weapon once more, and to investigate the sudden betrayal of the legendary Gryphon Unit, and if it’s even a defection at all.
So now that I have all of that out of the way, I feel I can explain it a little more.
Gryphons is recommended to be read first by newcomers who have not read Grand Contingency, you’ll learn about the Grand Experiment alongside the Gryphons. I’m writing this story with an action tilt; while both sides have several shares of action as well as exploration into the bigger picture within Grand Contingency, Gryphons focuses on a group of supersoldiers from several different agencies around the world, and therefore will feature a greater emphasis on discovery. The Gryphons are not nearly as well-documented on the Godreign as much as the main characters in Guardians, so they’ll be learning more as they go along. To a potential new reader, I feel this is an organic method of exposing them to the world.
Guardians builds on characters and background story from Grand Contingency, and while it can be read before Gryphons, it is recommended to be read first by those who have read Grand Contingency, in order to fully understand the connections both stories have with the overall lore.
Compared to Gryphons, which introduces the story from the outside looking in, the majority of the characters in Guardians are familiar with both the Godreign and the Grand Experiment. This is to represent the reader who has read Grand Contingency better, and to spend less time on exposition regarding it. It also goes into the history of both the Godreign and the Higher Powers That Be a little more, although that is not the focus for either story…yet.
So what’s the purpose behind this method of storytelling? Why couldn’t I just condense this into a single book, with multiple perspectives? Well, apart from the aforementioned doorstop of a book I’m trying to avoid, I feel like a sequel should only be done if there’s some opportunity to improve on some aspect of the narrative. After all, by the time Grand Contingency is ready to publish, I feel I can would have gone through a lot that had advanced me as a writer. But at the same time, I feel this method is still linear in a sense; both books would end up advancing the plot whether you read only one or both, so there is still a sense of progression despite the extra pages from both.
Most importantly, I’m excited to see the continuity that readers will recognize from reading one book then the other; there will be characters you recognize, references you understood, and reasons for characters doing something that may seem unclear at first, then you read it from their perspective and suddenly it all makes a little more sense. It’s a narrative approach that I wish was explored more, and one I hope to advance in some form with this duality in the storytelling.