1. Tsundere

    Tsundere New Member

    May 24, 2016
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    The origin of multiple 'plotlines'/arcs?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Tsundere, May 24, 2016.


    Where did the concept of multiple parallel plotlines (that may or may not interact and converge) originate? These days they're also known as throughlines, subplots, narrative/character arcs, series.

    I know it is quite an intuitive thing, but I would really like to know the first recorded instance of someone talking about it/teaching it. Specifically I'm interested in learning where the tabular method originated from (each row/column is an arc and each column/row is a point in time-> usually divided into Acts or chapters). In fact, I can't find any book at all that discusses this tabular method.

    Last edited: May 24, 2016
  2. Sifunkle

    Sifunkle Dis Member

    Aug 4, 2014
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    (Sorry this isn't particularly helpful, but hoping to get the ball rolling.)

    I'm a bit confused about your question, but:

    I think this is the crux of it. Throughlines/subplots/narrative arcs/etc are so intuitive that I reckon they've been going on for nearly as long as people have told tales. They exist in the oldest stories I'm familiar with - Greek mythology from as early as 900-800 BC - but I'm no history buff; others can probably tell you about earlier works.

    However, your question seems to be asking more about the first recorded use of the actual terms mentioned... I'd imagine that's a much more recent event. Theoretical terms are just constructs people have come up with to explain a pattern after-the-fact. That you have several synonymous terms might suggest that they've all arisen independently of each other (as it's intuitive, I'm sure several people would have reached the same idea using different words), so you might need to consider each as a separate entity. Maybe a starting point would be to find the first instance of 'plot' and go from there (?).

    As for the tabular method, I'd never heard that term before, but it seems like a very 'common sense' way of doing things. It's basically just a graph/chart/timeline formatted in a way that allows for description of the variable/s concerned (plot/s). Maybe a starting point would be wherever you heard the term?
    BayView likes this.

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