Purpose Of Interludes

by Samantha Hall

Hi, First i want to start off by saying how much i admire your blogs and tips on writing so much that it EXTREMELY helped me with starting my novel. It helped so much that im close to being done.

What i want to ask is sort of a two part question.

1. What is the purpose of Interludes in novel? I see interludes in authors novels like Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss and i was wondering, what purpose does they serve. From my understanding they seem like sideline stories that has nothing to do with the the ACTUAL story but JUST the world for worldbuilding (I guess). Like couldn't those interludes be "Novella's" because i see authors write novellas where the story is told my other character point of views to see the world in a different perspective and they are sideline stories. If its not to much to ask but could you elaborate on what purpose "Interludes" serve and how could others use them in their stories.

2. I wanted to write another novel that i will try to actually get published by an publisher but i have a few ideas that i need advice on. I wrote poems that relate to the story and characters, that i want to include in the novel. Is that okay to do? I also was thinking, when you get a publisher and YOU want illustrations for your novel, do you have to get approval from your publisher or you can go ahead and do it? Like whats the process of including illustrations?

Thank You so much for your time as i will continue to use your tips for every novel i write and hopefully
your answers for these questions would help me in my future endeavors as well.

Answer: Sometimes interludes can be used for thematic purposes -- as opportunities to look at certain themes from different perspectives. Sometimes they can be used to deepen the reader's understanding of the story world or situation.

Other times, they can illustrate the story goal. This is most often true in cases where the story goal is not so much a concrete event but a general concern shared by most characters.

You can also use them as opportunities to explore character relationships, or to create dramatic irony (if you want the reader to find out something that happens when the main character is not around).

You can have multiple stories within one novel by using several point-of-view characters. Again, this may be to provide different perspectives on the overall theme or plot.

In any case, my feeling is that interludes should have a purpose. You should know why you are including them, even if it's not obvious to all readers.

As for your second question... you can certainly include poetry in a manuscript (J.R.R. Tolkein did it all the time).

However, publishers usually have the last word on a book's design, including illustrations. Most of the time, they prefer to hire an illustrator themselves rather than have the author provide illustrations.

Once you have a contract (and have sold them on your words), you may be able to express your ideas regarding illustrations. But it's a negotiation and the amount of power you have depends on their faith in your ability to sell books vs. their own experience in this area. In other words, it helps if you have a track record.

Comments for Purpose Of Interludes

Click here to add your own comments

Better Understanding
by: Samantha Hall

Thank you so much for responding to my questions.

I'm still a bit confused on how to properly use interlude. Do you mind showing me an good example of an interlude? If it isn't to much to ask. Like apart of me feel like interludes isn't needed in novels. You say I can use interludes to explore the themes in the novel from other characters but isn't that turning away from THe story. For example: im going to use twilight, Bella and Edward falling in love and getting through obstacles that's keeping them from being together, is the overall story. The theme of the novel Is love. So does that mean I can hAve an interlude of her father dating and falling in love since it relates to the theme but has nothing to do with Bella and Edward situation. Lol I'm sorry if I'm confusing you or asking for to much but I'm just trying to make sure I have a clear understanding of interludes.

And you say I can hAve multiple stories in one novel told from different perspective that either relate to THe plot or theme. Does that mean If I have multiple stories that relate to THe theme, can all characters have they own separate plot,sub-plot and story goal separate from each other?

by: Glen

Samantha: I'm going to disagree with you about Twilight. The overall story in Twilight concerns the possession of Bella. It's a thriller plot in which she is pursued by James who wants to consume her. Edward is the protagonist who wants to possess her but protect her life. It's more about obsession than love.

However, in Twilight, the overall story takes a backseat to the other three throughlines -- those concerning Bella's lack of self-esteem, Edward (who, as impact character, represents everything she is not), and their relationship. These take the foreground for most of the book.

In such a story, an author could use examples of other relationships to contrast with the main relationship and invite the reader to weigh up different types of relationship and so evaluate the main relationship. (i.e. Is Bella and Edward's relationship healthy and/or superior to normal teenage relationships or is it a destructive influence on Bella's life?)

Regarding multiple points of view, a good example is the film Love Actually, in which you have a mosaic of strikingly different love stories within the same community that are used to illustrate the thematic message that "love, actually, is all around us."

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.