Rent people.

I like to connect stories. A main character in this novel has a bit part in another. The characters live in the same town at different times. You don’t have to read my novels in any particular order exactly and each story stands alone, but if you did read them all, you might happen to find glimpses into other stories. Why does this appeal to me? No idea.

But my friend JES watched that Validation video I posted a few days ago, and that gem of a human being went and shared Rent-a-Person with me. So, if you liked Validation, watch this. Please note it was made two years BEFORE Validation–and that pleases me no end.

Have you written connected stories? Are there any overlapping stories that appeal to you? (And I don’t mean sequels.) Do you think such connections distract or add? Can you think of any such stories to recommend?

6 thoughts on “Rent people.

  1. I began a series of stories about an actor named Matthew Bender that had only a loose connective tissue until I made the connection that Odysseus’ name translated means “A man of many turns” and suddenly things began to cohere: Bender is now returning home to So Calif from an off-Broadway appearance in a modern version of The Iliad. I’m batting about .500 on publication success; some went quickly, others are, well, you know. In the hands of chance.

    The main thing is, it’s fun when the characters begin to want their own starring moments and unintended themes slip through the cracks.

  2. A couple of years ago I read through a a series of books by Diane Mott Davidson. She wrote these books about a divorced mom with an abusive ex, who was rebuilding her own life and starting her own catering business. She – the MC – kept stumbling over these mysteries in her little town, through no fault of her own. There were maybe a dozen books (to date) in the series. They were fun, had great recipes, just all around enjoyable reads. I liked them because while there was a chronological order to her life, the books were independent of each other. You could start at any point and go forward or backward. Some characters were recurring, others weren’t. I’ve had a lot of fun with them and if Ms Davidson writes any more I’ll probably read those too. 🙂

  3. OMG, that’s the scene! How great! I like those little connections, too. Not only is it a pleasant surprise, but it shows dedication by the artist. I’ve thought that my current book may turn into a series featuring different protagonists, and that would be a great opportunity to include “Easter eggs”, as the Lost people call them.

  4. Yeah, I almost fell over when I hit that scene in Rent-a-Person. 🙂

    I did a whole series of short stories — 4 or 5 I think — featuring a character named Webster (never specified whether it was his first or last name). And I got into a little private sort of in-joke for a while, with a recurring secondary character named Monica. She showed up as the best friend of the protagonist in my mystery, and also in some of the Webster stories and a couple others besides. Her role was always to be the one who’d laugh at a main character, and/or challenge him/her in other ways… often making them defensive and sometimes making them dig in their heels and commit to some disastrous course of action. Very useful, a Monica, when you want to send a character into jeopardy of one sort or another. Ha.

    Off the top of my head, the only examples I can think of, of cross-connected non-sequel story lines and characters, are the TV series which occasionally leak into one another. Like this year, the three CSI series for a week pursued the same case, with the Laurence Fishburne character from the original Vegas show visiting Miami and NYC as he pursued the bad guy across the country. Other series have done something similar. I keep hoping, vainly I know, that Mulder and/or Scully from the old X-Files will show up on Fringe.

    Which is your cue to sit back and wonder just how much TV I must watch, anyhow.

  5. I do like connected stories. I’m a member of deviantART and there’s a person there who started something where writers could contribute short stories to a world he’d created. He had a set of rules — no using other people’s characters in your story without their permission, etc. — and the stories all had to end with the same closing line. The connection was the place in which they took place, and mentions of things other people introduced into the world building process. Seemed fun.

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