1. Sphi
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    Sphi Member

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    Multiple Storylines?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Sphi, Apr 27, 2009.

    I'm working on this story where I have about 10-12 different characters in about 7 seemingly unrelated storylines, and it goes back and forth between the different stories. It's basically about how they all find out the world will end in a month, and what they do in their last 30 days of existence. By the end, all their stories sort of come together and their stories are all intertwined. It's all about how everyone's final moments really define them as people, and how even seemingly completely unrelated people can come together in desperate times.

    I was wondering, has anybody ever done anything like this? What have you done / what can be done to keep a story like this not too confused and "thrown together" ?
     
  2. Kysun
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    Kysun New Member

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    Have you read Joe Abercrombie's 'Before they were Hanged'? It's a high-fantasy novel, but nevermind that. There were three individual, completely seperate storylines in that novel. They end up intertwining in the last book, but for the first two in the series, though, they are independant.
    I think he had 6 PoV's in that novel, with half that many plot-lines. According to him in an interview, he wrote every single storyline independantly of each other and interwove them at a later date. Does that help?

    Although 10-12 different characters in 7 storylines does seem like a little overwhelming, and a little confusing. What exactly would it be about?
    ._.
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Sounds like it would be easier to deal with asa collection of short stories.
    Max Brook's "World War Z" is also a little similar to this; it is the verbal history of a fictional zombie war. The story is told through a couple of dozen interviews with different people, some overlapping and running parallel to each other, which ultimately forms a complete narrative of many aspects in the war. It is particularly notable for the depth of detail he is able to provide in this way.
    So that's another way a similar problem has been handled.
     
  4. Sphi
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    Sphi Member

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    Thank you for your responses. Some of it is written already (I started it for Nanowrimo last year). Here's a little more about the characters:

    We have Deolanda, a cheerleader at her high school, and she ends up meeting this guy who she will fall in love with. Deolanda lives with her grandmother because her own mother disowned her, but Deolanda's entry into the world of romance inspires her grandmother to reunite daughter and mother and teach them to learn to love again, knowing that time is running out and they can't leave this world with words left unsaid.

    We later discover Deolanda's newfound lover has a younger sister, Vivian. Their parents are abducted, and they are determined to find them before the world ends, only wanting to be able to hug their parents one more time and tell them how much they love them.

    Vivian's best friend, Mack, is a pale-skinned "nerdy" type who is often the victim of his father's abusive habits. His father beats him up every night and he never knew his mother. Mack ends up running away and trying to get to Vivian's house so he can help her look for her parents. However, he gets lost in the woods and comes across a young girl who wandered away from her home.

    Here we have the story of Samantha (Sammy), a tottler who got lost looking for her blanket that her mom threw out the window in a fit of anger. Mack takes care of Sammy in the woods and they try to find a way out when they come across the asylum, tucked away far from the town, surrounded by woods.

    While all this is going on, we have been following the story of Benjarvus, who is in the asylum. We know he has clear, sane thoughts when he's alone in his cell, but he often lashes out at the guards and other inmates. He escapes from the asylum and runs into the woods where he finds Mack and Sammy. They're afraid of him at first, but later he reveals that he has been faking being insane because... well, it's a long story.

    Benjarvus helps Mack and Sammy get back to the town. Benjarvus helps Mack find his way to Vivian's house, but Sammy can't say much so nobody has any idea where her parents live, and they don't want to go to the police because Benjarvus doesn't want to go back to the asylum, and Mack doesn't want to go into foster care. Benjarvus agrees to help them look for Vivian's parents, and they keep Sammy with them.

    By the end of the story, we find out Sammy's parents are Deolanda's parents. Benjarvus had been wrongly accused of the murder of Mack's mother. Vivian and her older brother find their parents. All the loose ends are tied up... and I have a pretty big ending planned out.

    I think I might be able to pull it off.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The important word in your original post is seemingly. If the plots really are unrelated, the story would be a mess. It does need to somehow converge, even if the convergence is only on the level of character development (but characters relevant to the main plot).
     
  6. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    James A. Michner works a little like that. Maybe check out some of his works to see how he does it.
     

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