1. Asuran
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    Asuran Member

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    Dual Plots

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Asuran, Sep 13, 2008.

    Would it be conducive for a novelist to have two separate, fully developed plots that only intersect at key points within the story? Or should I separate them into different stories?
     
  2. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    It's certainly been done before. Look at A Song of Ice and Fire if you need a current (and rather overly epic) example.
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Lord of the Rings does that, for the second two books.
     
  4. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I guess I'm old fashioned. While I don't mind subplots (non-novel-length plots that take place within the bigger plot and build off of it), and probably wouldn't mind another primary plot if it was directly related to the first plot (rather than just "intersecting" the first plot at main points), I don't think I'd care for two almost separate, different plots in one book. Just seems like something better reserved for two books, to me. At the very least you risk alienating readers who are looking for one cohesive story, not two stories that keep jumping into and out of focus. At the worst, it'll be too confusing, and might end up too long for publication (if that's what you're seeking).

    If both plots can sustain an entire novel-length book in and of themselves, then why not write them that way?

    But if it's something you want to try, that's your decision. *shrug*
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Make sure that the plots not only intersect but that they come together at the end. Have you ever read Les Miserables? Hugo sort of does this. His plots intersect at various times during the novel, but everything comes together at the end.
     
  6. Ferret
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    Ferret Contributing Member

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    Case and Point: To Kill a Mockingbird had three as I recall.

    Jem and Scout growing up
    Boo Radly
    The other dude's trial
     
  7. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I am attempting the same thing. sci-fi, metaphysical, horror. I know there are novels that have successfully pulled it off. Although my second plot is more of a long subplot. Although I could easily expand it into a whole novel. I am purposely trying to keep it as a long subplot and not over do it. I don't want a novel over 300 pages.
     
  8. kazel
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    kazel Member

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    Another instance of a story that is really two stories that intersect at key points is Tom Stoppard's Arcadia (play), where its two plots that take place at entirely separate times, but are still woven together, and build upon each other rather than detract. Though both plots are technically independent, the story would not be the same if both were not present. So I think the best way to answer the question is to decide if the plot support or detract from each other.
     
  9. Myers
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    Myers Member

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    Presonally I love having several plots going on at once, the occasional tease of them joining briefly at a few points throughout the novel, and then at the end everything colides.

    I wouldn't recommend having two seperate plots that are seperate and never join up at all though, unless they're united by a theme.
     
  10. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    I enjoy parallel plots that share common timelines and events but from different perspectives until they merge later in the story.
     
  11. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I have two distinct plots going on my stories...the one of the individual book and the overlying plot to them all...

    it's possible, but by the very, bitter end you should have them tied up.
     
  12. woken2reason
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    woken2reason Member

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    Dual plot can work very well, as long as you remember not to make them contradict each other.
     
  13. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I happen to be working on two sets of stories where there are almost parallel plots, but they don't really merge.

    For one, there are three seperate books, mainly because there are a few to several characters involved in each seperate plot,a dn the timelines are staggered;

    but for another, I have two seperate plots in one book, because they occur right at the same time, and end at the same time(due to a catastrophic event), even though the two main characters never meet--this works because each plot deals almost entirely with a single major character. I also put them together because the stories deal with very similar themes, and an identical backdrop, but the characters make very different choices, and I wanted to emphasize the contrast.
     

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