First of all, it’s a label I applied to certain books, novels or stories that narrate the character’s life, usually from youth to adulthood. No, I’m not talking about young adult novels, they usually do not progress into adulthood and certainly not into later adulthood.
We see a lot of what I call life progressive stories in older literature, sometime it is written into modern romance and drama stories. It can be in action stories, but rarely is it. It can be used in action stories. I used it a lot but you have add a lot of backstory and dialogue so your readers will know what’s going on.
A life progressive story or novel aren’t common nowadays, mainly because they are quite difficult to write. They usually start with a character in their childhood or youth and the story narrates as the character ages and live their life. Therefore, the writer introduce new characters, and even bring back old characters from afar throughout the story.
In life progressive stories everyone doesn’t die off because the writer knows how to ‘not’ write him or herself in a corner. It’s like painting a room’s floor, [years ago people used to paint the floors as well as the walls of a house] you don’t start painting at the door and then paint deeper into the room, painting yourself into a corner. You start painting in the corners and progress toward the door. You leave yourself an exit. The same goes for a character in a Life Progressive novel. You write in an exit, that way you can pull them back into the story as it progress.
Yes, these types of novels move back and forth through time. There maybe several revisits to the character’s past. Let’s say for instant: The character has attained a high status in life and someone from their past shows up. Someone who knows all their secrets and can ruin their career, life or marriage. How do they handle them? Remember, Life Progressive Novels don’t leave corpses in every room in the house, nor on every page.
The difficult part is knowing how to end it. Knowing who to eliminate and who to keep and tying up all the stray strands of the story into a neat ending. I said neat ending. It doesn’t always mean a happy ending.