1. flybig
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    flybig New Member

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    Interlacing or Continuous Storyline?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by flybig, Dec 6, 2011.

    Hi all,

    I'm working on a novel and I'm currently setting up the plot structure. From my recreational reading I've noticed many novels have an interlacing storyline. The story will primarily follow the central character but will also follow secondary characters while the central character is out of scene. Often these interlacing storylines converge towards the end.

    I would define a continuous storyline as a storyline that follows the central character for the duration of the story.

    My question is do you consider a an interlacing storyline necessary to a good novel? Would you consider a continuous storyline too simplistic or monotonous? Or do you consider a continuous storyline appropriate if it is natural to the circumstances of the plot?

    Thank you for your thoughts.
     
  2. Baba Yaga
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    Baba Yaga Member

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    I think it depends on the scope, the storyline and the voice used. Both story types you have described have been successful. The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time, Shantaram, Hunger, Vernon God Little and others are all entirely focused through the vision of a single character, because that character's vision is what makes the story unique. Other times, there are too many characters and the story is too big to be told from a single perspective, so it jumps from head to head- like the way Chuck Palahniuk or Nick Hornby sometimes do, or the author uses a distanced 3rd person narrative to give us a 'big picture' view- this way we also experience more dramatic irony because we, as the reader, might be aware of events outside the character's knowledge that will directly affect them, but that the characters themselves cannot anticipate.

    E.g. in scene one, a villain prepares to trap the hero by using a double -crossing spy, in scene two, the hero meets the spy and falls in love with her, not knowing her intent. We do though, and realise throughout the burgeoning love story that a major conflict is inevitable.

    I don't think there's a wrong or a right. A war story, a love story or a science fiction tale would follow the same plot regardless of who the narrator is, but that narration will colour all of the emotional reactions your reader has. If you are still in the planning stages of your novel, maybe try writing a scene in 2 or three different voices and see which one resonates the most for you, which one do you want to keep reading. Also ask yourself if there are plot limitations to using that voice? If your narrator is a 5 year old child, you are going to be limited to their vocabulary, understanding of consequences, moods and ego. If you find a compelling voice that gives you a unique angle and doesn't restrict your reader's understanding of the plot, then that's probably the one for you.

    IMHO, of course :)
     
  3. Ixloriana
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    Ixloriana Member

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    It's not necessary at all for a good novel. The Harry Potter books are written entirely through Harry's point of view (well, aside from one or two scenes throughout the entire series) and it never hurt them at all.

    If you're thinking of writing a novel one of these ways, I'd just consider whether you need to show scenes when the main character isn't there.
     
  4. UberNoodle
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    UberNoodle Senior Member

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    A while ago I wrote a review for a Japanese horror film called Kairo. This film (SPOILERS BTW) was very interesting to me because while the end of the world was happening through out the entire film, it was only until the final scenes that it became actually apparent. The director/writer has done this in another film, Charisma, which was a very interesting art film about a tree. I don't know how else to explain it, but it does end in apocalypse. But anyway, the thing I loved is that the films never pulled out of the viewpoint characters' perspectives. There were no flashes to some bunker were government officials brainstorm with spunky science geeks. No shady conspiratorial scenes which the characters would never have seen. There were no god's eye view moments. I really loved that, not following a typical character as always, and explanation being only as much as they can ever know by their own resources, leaving mystery and inexplicable events thick on the ground. I would love to read more books like that.
     
  5. flybig
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    flybig New Member

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    Thank you, I appreciate your replies.

    The story I'm working on follows the journey of the central character through a series of events. The particular plot that I've worked out doesn't lend itself to interlacing a parallel storyline. I was concerned this could be viewed as too simple for modern readers.

    Cheers!
     

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