So today feels like a good day to discuss my upcoming project, Beneath an Azure Sky. I've worked out most of the fine details, but there are still some things that give me pause. This story is shaping up to be very different than The Fabulist, and while that is a good thing it also means I'm getting into uncharted territory.
To the point - I'm mulling over a particular plot device. This is in particular directed towards anyone who's written paranormal fiction, because that's what it concerns.
Most of my novels contain some supernatural elements, but they're usually subtle things that are well-established literary tropes such as characters having prophetic dreams or visions. In Beneath an Azure Sky, they're quite a bit more overt. One of the bigger ones - which is also a recurring literary device - is "Ghost Vision," something that crops up close to the beginning.
Here's the background: During her trek north, Pathfinder has to cross through the territory of the Ghost-Men, a quasi-religious band of narcotrafficking raiders who are the main antagonists. She's captured in their main city and forced under pain of death to go through one of their initiation rituals. When she refuses, the leader exposes her to a massive dose of a hallucinogen - a nasty brew called "Ghost Vision." The name comes from the fact that the most common hallucination is an image of someone from the user's past (hinted at when someone mentions that the queen of the Ghost-Men can "conjure the spirits of the dead to torment those who offend her"). It also takes a long time for the purge it and can permanently skew perceptions of reality.
When she's first dosed, Pathfinder has a vivid, chapter-long hallucination. This is the Endless Garden sequence, something I've featured in everything I've written except for Nerd World, so that's normal for me. However, it doesn't end there - Pathfinder hallucinates periodically for the rest of the story. In many cases, her visions are accurate reflections of the past - she sees people as they were when they were younger and even witnesses events that happen before she was born.
I'm a bit torn on this. Personally, I like the visions as a plot device. They serve a similar function to Storyteller's fables in The Fabulist, in that they foreshadow events and call back to things that happened before the story. Some of the Ghost Vision sequences are also really tragic, and I'm a sucker for the big emotional scene. However, I don't know how my readers will react to something like this. Again, it's a sizable departure from The Fabulist, and I know that plenty of writers have tried to use similar devices and failed spectacularly. It's a definite gambit.
I suppose I'm curious to know if anyone here has ever played with any similar prophetic and/or perception-skewing story devices.