cue Team America song
Okay, now that you know I like to have fun with my writing...
I'd like to write a montage in prose fiction. It would be a sort of a wizard training sequence, or something to that effect (pretty close).
Obviously montages are easier to do in movies, as they're a very movie-focused technique, which are basically film-editing at work on sequences shot on film.
Novels could conceivably do the same thing, as it's story-telling, but there's obviously different strengths and weaknesses to the two different mediums (media?).
The context: four years ago (in-story) a bunch of rifts opened up above all the major cities of the world (Earth). These brought through monsters, and gave people super powers, wherein they are able to either do things with super powers naturally, such as wield an element (fire, lightning, ice, whatever) or some other set of related powers. Ninja types could use shadow powers or even actual invisibility, for instance. It's generally tied in conceptually. If a character's power-concept is storms, you can usually fling lightning from your hands, be immune to electrocution, and even fly, as storms are often windy. That's one example.
The character I'm writing this story about is that character's girlfriend. She is able to manipulate Rift energy, where it exists. She doesn't have inherent elemental powers like her boyfriend. He's limited to storm-based powers. His best friend has rock powers - the ability to manipulate the ground in various ways, and even to create rock-skin for a short duration. He can only control dirt, rock, earth stuff (not really trees, that's a different power, just literal rock. (No surprise, he loves rock-n-roll. It's kinda his thing.) Another female member of the group has a few psychic powers, such as mind-reading and invisibility. They're not as destructive, so she can use them for longer - they have a lower mana cost.
This girl learns how to weave effects with Rift energy. She has the whole range of powers to work with, but a more limited amount of willpower and energy/mana/whatever to work with. She has an affinity for healing powers, and is usually called up for patching them up (it takes longer the nastier the wound, it's not an instant process). The title I want to go for is Cliche Healer Girl, which tested interestingly somewhere else. I was talking about a JRPG stereotype, which is the shy, meek, kinda not-very-interesting, but "pure" character type in soooooooo many JRPGs. Girls who are 100% pure are the default in a lot of fantasy, it sometimes seems, not so much in the west, but in the east, at least in games, you get the stereotype. I titled a post Cliche Healer Girl, to see if the forum had experienced this a lot.
And someone thought "Oh man, I thought this was going to be a story!" I think they loved the title, too.
Years later, I've just come up with my story. This character, who starts of kinda shy and plain and pure, but also a bit Ivory Tower syndrome (think Rapunzel or the stereotype of the fair princess) goes through magical training that opens her mind and strengthens her as a character. Not sure exactly what she'll go through, but at some point, I think it might be useful to have a learning montage. It'll be a short story, after all, though it could probably spin out into a novella naturally. I don't know for sure, I'll see where it goes.
Anyway, the question is, how to do a montage in prose form? I think the word is a french one from literary theory circles, so does that mean it originally came from written narrative? If it did, I think I'd know about it.
In film and TV, you can do a montage much easier than in a book, I think. You get training montages the most, as well as lock-and-load and power ups in more fantastic stories (ie Power Rangers and Sailor Moon). Even Rocky had a montage! (I'll stop now, promise)
I think readers coming across a montage might find it hilarious, as you normally get it on screen. Team America sings a song explaining how to do a training montage in film. Can't say I've seen too many montages in games, but I'm sure there's one at the end of Mass Effect 3 when the Alliance finally descend on Earth for the showdown. Been a while since I played it though. Could be off, but I swear I remember that happening!
I haven't been able to find a whole heap of advice on this particular way of doing montages. The general advice is "context needed", so I've said everything I've worked out SO FAR.
The setting is very apocalyptic, with ruined cities, and there are references to nerd culture (that does of course irk some while delighting many others, from what I understand. But with the type of humour it displays, a montage wouldn't be out of place. I just don't really know how to do one in prose, as it's not, to my knowledge, a prose device but a visual device, even if the word and definition first would have appeared in books. (I have a book on critical and literary terms, which I'll be referring to for more info.)
I think that's everything I've currently got. I hope that's a good explanation (I seem to be doing well here! :).