The Patriarchal has spin-offs and cross-overs,me specially in television and comic books, but try reading or watching one without the other and the exercise feels incomplete and often confusing.
The problem is the Patriarchal is not equipped for such epic endeavours. It is about the One, not the Infinite. The hero is the focus, and it is the hero’s perspective that trumps all others. Cross-overs are tricky when there are clashing perspectives and often the hero from one series does not seem “authentic” in another series. An endearingly funny character may be portrayed as an irritating jerk in a cross-over, making the effort an unsatisfying one.
The Matriarchal is built for intersecting stories, but with a twist: you do not have to read the other stories to “get it,” but if you do, a more textured story appears with more surprises. Here, short stories can stand alone, be collected into a coherent novel, or cross-over, be folded into another series or novel, or be read with other unrelated short stories to follow a supporting character or event.
For example, the short story Joseph Weavers the Butler Spy: Sly Bethany’s Dirty Games is a stand alone story complete with a beginning, middle, and end. You can read that short alone and come away with a compete story.
You can also read it in conjunction with other Joseph Weavers stories and get a better sense of the man and his work.
But it is also a tie-in to the novel Chaser where the story completely changes its meaning because the events mean something else to the protagonist of that unrelated book.
The magic of the Matriarchal is that stories are made to intersect. It is about the Infinite and multiple points of views.
In both Chaser and Dr. Verity Lake’s Journey of a Thousand Revelations, there are markers in each novel to give context and indicate where tie-in short stories happen in the timeline and each story is, in fact, also part of other series. That means a single story is a unit with multiple uses. The Matriarchal writer includes details that have meaning for other characters. What is a minor point in one story is the crux of another.
For example, you may be late for an important job interview because of a fatal car accident ahead of you. That one event ends one life, is something to investigate for the police, and can alter your life as the stress makes you too anxious and the job you would have normally snagged went to someone else.
One event, but far-reaching consequences for many.
The Matriarchal also makes fact-finding a game where spoilers,twists, and turns slumber in unrelated stories. For example, It is unlikely a reader will opt for a sweet and naive children’s story and a gory thriller told from the perspective of a snarky hitwoman, but an author is free to place secret connections to surprise readers who venture into trying vastly different genres. Boldness is rewarded as is curiosity.
Character consistency is important, but it doesn’t mean characters don’t progress, learn, and grow. Core development is important in the Matriarchal, so that characters are recognizable outside of their usual venue. Should readers become intrigued with new character they are free to follow their separate adventures, but they are never pressured into having to follow another tie-in story.
On the other hand, for those who do, they are reward with a more exciting story as they discover twists that alter their perceptions of the original story.
Who they thought was a villain is a flawed victim trying to be a hero or a minor detail is revealed to be a key to unlocking a bigger mystery.
It is a way of learning to gather facts and create new stories by reading different combinations of stories. It is not the way of the linear Patriarchal, but the payoffs for both readers and authors is that much greater as old stories can be presented in new ways that make the same stories new as new details become important and new angles emerge.