1. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    Brain freeze :(

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Blue_Lotus, Jun 17, 2011.

    Maybe you guys can help me out here.
    The story I am working on involves several people or groups of persons all living in different places on their world.

    My problem is tying them all together let me exsplaine a bit.

    In the first chapter you are intorducted to a society that has remained hidden in plain sight for hundreds of years ( sort of a Free Masons type deal but twisted to fit my story.) Meaning some people know they are there, but would rather die than talk about it and some people stumble upon them by accident thought the ages... etc etc

    In later chapters you meet Trinity, she lives across the globe from the first set of MC's. My problem with this aspect of the story is this.

    The first set of MC's do X.Y. and Z on A,B, and C date.
    Meanwhile on the same day across the globe the new secondary MC is doing her thing.

    How would I go about tying the chapters together?
    inserting a single page that says

    "Meanwhile elsewhere in (Insert location here") ...
    This to me seems lame.

    Or would it be better perhaps to write two seprate books like a series? If I were to go this road I would end up having to write five books total four for the MC's and one for the finale. Not that I mind doing that just trying to figure a few things out.

    I have seen a few books done where it is partioned off like the book is really several books in one, but it seemed "joggy" for lack of a better word to me.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance. @};-
    Blue Lotus
     
  2. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Only make several books if the books stand well by themselves. You shouldn't need to read more than one book to understand the story.

    You can simply alternate chapters with the different characters. Every time you switch character, make it clear in some way, for example, by mentioning their name in the first sentence.

    If it's important when the events take place, you can show it through context. For example, if character A's plane crashes, character D can read in the.newspaper that the crash took place yesterday, and the reader knows when the events take place in relation to each other.
    You can also reveal exact dates through dialogue, a character reading them on the newspaper, a character checking his datebook, and so on.
    You can also put the date and time at the start of the chapter, but IMHO it's a somewhat clumsy solution, and it's easier to read if you can work it into the context.
     
  3. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Once you have defined the whereabouts of each character, you don't need to explain it every single time you switch between them.
     
  4. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    The only books I've read with the date at the start of each chapter where the halo novels. It worked in that case because it enhanced the military feel but in any other situation I think it would seem clumsy. In truth, unless the exact dates are specifically important it's probably not even necessary for the reader to know them, so long as it's made clear roughly when the event is happening in relation to the others.

    What you do need to do is to make it clear which POV it's taking place from. So start with "Bob ran quickly down the dark alley." So it's obvious that this is Bob's chapter. Now if this is the first chapter with Bob you should casually mention the name of the location. If it's not there's no need. The reader will already know.
     
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  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    The first thing you have to decide is whether it's all one story or not. If you have to separate and distinct stories, then you probably have two separate and distinct books. Is the secondary MC on the other side of globe part of this secret society? Is whatever she is doing related to what the main group is doing? If so, that suggests you have one story, not two, and should have one book, not two.

    Protar's comment above is spot on. Once you've established a character's locale, you only need to mention the character and the reader will associate him/her with the locale. And if the character's locale changes, you can weave that into the story.

    As for partitioning the book into separate parts, it's been done and to good effect. In some of Allan Drury's early books, including Advise and Consent, he established three or for parts of the book, each named for a major character, who had the dominant POV in that section. And he even called them "books" (e.g. "Bob Munson's Book", "Seab Cooley's Book", etc). But they were not actually separate stories - they were all part of a single story.

    A good recent example of a book that rapidly changes locations and POV is Tom Clancy's Executive Orders. And he never has to rely on, "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..."

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    Yeah it does thanks :) A few points were made here that I can understand and a few q's were asked that I can answer.
    1) the date is important because it is the date that fate steps in and changes things for several of the MCs. This coincides with one of the yearly meteor showers.
    Could I make severl books? I could if for not toher reason than life is interesting... I could write about someones life and fill 3 works. ;) BUt since these people are all part os the same fold wheather they know it or not I would prefer to keep them all in the same volume together. Now that does not mean that I have dismissed the idea of going back later and delving deeper into each of them life my muse Anne Rice, but I would like to give each player their own time in the spotlight as each "event" where they start to awaken to the fact thay they are unique and part of this 'greater plan' or 'grand design' is important.
    Just trying to avoid being clumsy. :) Thanks for the assist.
    Now time for vacation lol three weeks and I promised hubby no all night writting stints, won't even have a pc lol. but I will have the recorder just incase insperation stirkes.
    Will play around with the transitions a bit.
    Thanks much,
    Blue Lotus
     
  7. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    Well it seems it's only the date of the meteor shower that's important (though it's hard to tell just from this thread.). If you're really keen to give each event an exact date just drop the date of the shower in some brief exposition (like "everybody knew august the fourteenth was the date of the annual meteor shower." Lame sentence I know but just an example.). Then readers can figure out the rest of the dates from that. Like in Harry Potter the time frame of the books is all worked out from Nearly Headless Nick's death day cake.
     
  8. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    Yes thank you protar. Not a bad idea :) something that acts as a time marker... in this case the meteor showers. :) Will just find a way to work the date into the intro :D

    From there I don't think I will need to date events just the intro to the MC's all happen on the same date, thus I was working on how to do that with out taxing my readers patience, not to mention undermining their intelligence.
    Thanks a lot folks.
    Blue Lotus.
     
  9. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Alternating chapters or starting new segments/paragraphs would work best I think.
     

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