1. Dismas
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    Dismas Member

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    Two different plots in one?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Dismas, Sep 19, 2015.

    Alright, so I have this novel planned out in my head and I'm beginning to wonder if this plot is going to work structurally.

    So here's the basics of part 1: One character, named Noah, joins a space recon group during a huge war. Noah has had a history of poor job performance due to his lack of social skills. He is afraid of being abandoned by his family who increasingly see him as a black sheep, so he joins the group to prove himself worthwhile. The recon company sends small, single pilot ships into abandoned systems to track enemy movement. Noah, an engineer by trade , is forced to become a pilot due to staff shortages. So he goes to the system, his ship begins falling apart and eventually he crashes on an abandoned planet suffering a severe nuclear winter. Noah attempts several times to contact his superiors, but planned rescues never come and eventually loses contact with the outside world entirely. At the same time, Noah comes to believe that he is being hunted by an alien on the planet, making him extremely paranoid. Eventually he confronts what he thinks to be the Alien and shoots it, only to find out that it was a human being, the only other person left on the planet. In fit of rage and grief, Noah destroys his ship's communication systems, finally accepting that he has abandoned. He then walks off in a snow storm.

    This story here has all the basic parts of a plot structure. There's a setup (Noah takes on a dangerous mission to prove his worth to society), rising actions (dealing with the ship falling apart, the alien he believes is hunting him, and his constant attempts to contact the outside world) , a climax (Noah shooting the only other human being on the world), and a denouement (Noah destroys his comm, accepts his fate, falls into madness). This is all fine and good, but the problem is that this is not the whole story.

    The second part of my plot involves a deserter crash landing on the same planet 2 years later after the huge war has ended. His goal is to escape the dead planet with enough food to make it to civilization. His attempts at rebuilding his ship and gathering food are disrupted by a strange figure he believes to be an alien. He later find and confronts this figure and finds out that it is Noah, who has been stranded on the planet 2 years and has gone completely mad. However, the man begins to communicate with Noah and learns that not only does Noah have a stockpile of food, he also has the engineering skills necessary to rebuild his ship. The two form an uneasy alliance, and the man intends to abandon Noah once he has outlived his usefulness. However, as they spend more time together gathering supplies and weathering the elements, the man begins to bond with Noah and considers taking Noah with him. Then, some disaster strikes which destroys a great deal of their supplies. The man, believing that there's only enough supplies for one man, attempts to abandon Noah, which leads to a violent argument between the two men. The man overpowers Noah and is about to kill him when Noah begins to cry out for his mother. Pitying the young Noah, the man decides to take Noah with him, despite the risk of starvation. The book would end with both characters leaving the planet and setting out for betters lands.

    Here's the problem: my novel basically has two full plots. The second part has a set up (man trapped on dead planet seeks way off), rising action ( confronting the "alien", dealing with the elements, finding food and parts), a climax (the argument between Noah and the man), and a denouement ( the man takes Noah with him on his journey, despite the risk of starvation.)

    Isn't a novel supposed to have one overarching plot? If so, does my story as a whole seem to fit into the traditional plot arc, or is it all mangled because there are basically two stories going on here? Do I need to cut elements out in order to fit the traditional plot structure?
     
  2. ClassyCanuck
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    ClassyCanuck Member

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    Okay, I can see a way of this working but it may not be the way you will like/consider.
    Turn the book into parts inside one book.
    Part one: The Recon
    Part two: The Deserter
    This way you can have the two plots converge into one, with the main theme they both share is they both want to get off the dead planet or something. If you have two separate plots, these characters can both have separate goals, but it is probably easiest to converge the two plots into one by the end of the book.
    I love the idea, and I could see this being a really awesome story, but that's my suggestion. :)
     
  3. ShalaylaW
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    ShalaylaW Member

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    Honestly when I first started reading what it was about, I wasn't all that interested, but then you had him shoot the only other human on the planet, and then I was like... Kay this got way better. I think it's an extremely good idea, and honestly I love that you created two separate plots instead of going back and forth between chapters, packs more of a punch. But just as long as the two plots eventually converge (which they do by the two men meeting) you're good :)
    I've read quite a few books where what you've done happens. Proxy by Alex London is one of my favorites. It switches between two boys, and when they finally meet, it creates one interesting plot.
    So you've no need to worry about "traditional plot structure", because you've got it covered :)
    Good luck! It sounds like a really good read
     

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