1. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    Need Advice on Side-Plot Beginnings

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Porcupine, Feb 19, 2011.

    I wonder if anybody here has any ideas about what I can do at the beginning of my story. I have a pretty solid plot overall, which I will try to describe briefly. My story is - essentially - an espionage thriller involving two teams from two opposing countries. Team 1 in country 1 has already started its work, and Team 2 (in country 2) will eventually, later, catch onto them and start countering their actions.

    The problem I am facing is that within the story it will take Team 2 about a year to start reacting, and before that they will basically not interact with Team 1 at all. I do want the reader to get involved with Team 2 as well, however, and want to have a pretty balanced story, with both teams featuring more or less equally.

    What can I do? Should I even involve Team 2 at the beginning of the story? I could only have them dealing with routine work, or have them work on old cases, the really exciting stuff would only come later, when it becomes apparent what Team 1 is up to. But I see little use in writing empty filler material. Another issue is that my story is going to be chock-full of characters, and I want to introduce them as gradually as possible so I don't confuse the reader too much.

    What say you? Or do you need more information?
     
  2. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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    I am writing a similar story with two parallel story lines that at a certain point start to interact. I solved it by giving chapters a date/time/location stamp. Another issue is that if you find out something it usually goes quicker to get up to speed. So, team 2 may have an initial disadvantage, but may go quicker because dead ends for the first team can be shortcut.

    HTH,
     
  3. Yandos
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    Yandos Member

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    Maybe you could start your story from the point team2 gets involved. Then split the storytelling into 3 parts (POV chapters) that interlink. Part 1 being team 1's movements, part 2 being team 2's movements and part 3 being the information team 2 findout about team 1's prior movements (The previous year). You may need to tweak the plot a bit to make it fit but if done right, it'll be a winner.
     
  4. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I thought about that, should have written that in the first post. This was an option I had considered, to start from the point where they begin interacting and then tell the backstory in flasback. There's a problem, though. I can't do this really, the plot is big and complex, and a lot needs to be told in detail to make it believable to the reader. Also, there's a backstory to the backstory, which is even more complex. My current timeline limits the possible confusion to a minimum, I just feel I need more balance.

    I will keep thinking about this issue, but don't see a good solution yet. I have a lot to write which is already laid-out, anyway.
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    What if there's a war going on between the two countries, or some type of catastrophe going on in Team B's setting. Team B characters could be focusing on this, not on the espoinage stuff.
     
  6. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 Senior Member

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    How about this. Have team 2 go through what would seem routine missions, gathering information and sabotage or whatever. You can use the missions to advance the plot line and develop the characters of team 2 while they're out completing their objectives. However, while they're out there, you could have the missions correlate with starting to find evidence/hints of the coming actions of team 1. It could build some tensity to the story because the whole time you know what team 1 is planning, but are budding with curiosity of when team 2 will finally start putting the pieces together and see the plan of team 1.

    You could even make this better by having the reader never quite knowing what the plan is at all times, and can only piece it together by non-specific talks amongst team 1, and the hints and speculations of team 2.

    I don't know how violent your novel is going to be, but I can think of an possible scene you could do. For instance, think of team 2 having to assassinate someone from a random country (not either of the team's countries). When they get there, there supposed to kill this person because it the first time he'll actually be in something of a public event, making him open. Before team 2 guy can make his move, the man is already assassinated by someone the Team 2 guy recognizes as the top assassin of team 1! Why would they kill a man that always seemed to be Team 1's ally? What are they planning? Why make such a public move now?

    I really like this plot , seems like you have a lot of room to maneuver and come up with some great ideas!
     
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  7. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    Very nice post, chacotaco91, you have given me a lot of ideas! I find it quite surprising that people can make such constructive posts without being given any of the content in detail. :)

    Indeed, Team 1's agenda is sort of a secret for the reader, and certainly their motivation is a secret. Having Team 2 slowly unravel their motivation as well as their goal seems like fun, and having them start collecting "bits" of information earlier also seems a good idea, even if they can't do much with that information yet.

    The phase you outlined is actually planned for the end of the first novel (I'm nearing the 1-novel word limit fast), but it can all begin in a more subtle way and serve to introduce Team 2.
     
  8. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    , 'haters' (the resentful , the envious ) underminding one squads morale adds conflict
     
  9. angslan
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    angslan New Member

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    What sort of tone does the writing have? If it has a slightly dry, epic/historic/methodical tone, then you could get away without introducing 'team 2' until they actually arrive in the story. This sort of tone would assist with the complex plot, and the introduction of 'team 2' when they are relevant would feel natural.

    However, if the tone is very present and very active, then 'team 2' definitely need to be there from the beginning. In this case, if there is a large obstacle or epic challenge that members of 'team 2' will eventually be faced with, this could be foreshadowed earlier by having 'team 2' complete a similar type of challenge, but one in which they fail or something, so that the challenge later in the novel has historical significance for them.
     
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  10. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    I certainly think "present and active" is the style, although I am particularly bad at analyzing and categorizing what I write myself. I have already decided I will introduce Team 2 much earlier, and already have a good way of doing so.

    Thanks again for the feedback, everyone!
     

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