1. Piankhy
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    Piankhy Member

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    Two different stories in one?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Piankhy, Apr 9, 2011.

    So I finished my first manuscript a few months ago. It centered around the up and down relationship between two senior college students at a Ivy League school. For my next writing project, I was thinking about writing a prequel to the book, exploring the character's past(high school life)

    The only problem with this scenario is that the two didn't meet each other until college. Is it possible to write a book with two main characters who never meet each other and whose lives are completely different?

    My other question was, if I wrote the original in third person, would it be weird if I wrote the prequel in first person?(for both characters)
     
  2. cybrxkhan
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    In my opinion, it's possible, but it might be difficult; ultimately, you'll still have to connect their two lives somehow, even if thematically or symbolically or something like that. At the least, you'll have to maybe show some kind of similarities between their two lives, or maybe have them meet or almost meet each other or participate in the same event(s), but not actually get to know each other. Furthermore, somehow, there must be clear hints of the relationship between the two and/or the events of the first book that will happen in the prequel's future - for instance, perhaps one of the MCs discussed a past problem in the first book, and then it is further elaborated upon with some twists in the prequel.

    This reminds me vaguely of this one anime I watched ages ago - the name of it's not really important, but basically, the plot is that there was one bonus 'prequel' episode, meant to be watched separately after the series itself, that featured the two main characters a year before they met each other. They aren't aware of each other's existences in this prequel episode - although they do cross paths a few times (but they never actually get to know each other) - but the prequel episode sort of shows what many of the characters were like before the series proper, and it gave some good insight into how the characters were before they ultimately improved themselves (or not) before the beginning of the series proper, which helped give me a lot of insight into their motivations and personalities later on. The prequel episode also carried many of the important themes of the series proper, and sort of served as a wonderful prologue-like epilogue to the whole series - when I finished watching the prequel, I couldn't help but smile a bit, knowing what wonderful things would happen to the characters when the actual story began. Something like that. I'm pretty sure it's been done before in various mediums.


    In my opinion, that's fine, although I don't see the reason so far why it can't be the other way either.
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is something that is done a lot in fiction - both the prologue from a different POV or perspective and stories with interconnected people that never meet or meet later in life.

    Kate Morton is the most recent one I have read that does this.
     
  4. louismonette
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    This might sound stupid, but the way i perceive it, its like almost having two people sharing the same soul. Like almost beeing soulmates is having one piece of the sole, but in search of the other counter part soul. In your first manuscript maybe its was inevetable that they would meet each oter. Now in the prequel you could explain why it is was destined to be.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There needs to be some relationship between the storylines or the characters for it to work. It might be a comparison of their lives when subjected to similar challenges, but something needs to tie it together into one story.
     
  6. Piankhy
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    Piankhy Member

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    Yeah that's pretty much what I had in mind. Things not clearly explained in the book would be clarified in the prequel and there were would be certain scenes where they'd actually encounter each other. They just wouldn't leave enough of a impression for them to remeber that they'd already met in the orginal.

    Out of curiousity, what anime series is that? I think I remeber a show like that but it's bothering me that I can't remeber.(I've seen a lot of anime so the stories start to blend in after a while. Except school days, that one will always stand out....)

    That's encouraging to know. I'll check out this Kate Morgan as well. Thanks

    It's a part romance novel, so your statement isn't stupid at all. It actually has helped me out with a few key concepts of the new novel.

    I was actually thinking of two ways to do this. Either A.) they share a mutual best friend. or B.) they talk to each other online without knowing the other's identity
     
  7. Ellipse
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    There is a novel called Temple by Mathew Reilly. It features a dual storyline featuring two different people set in two separate time periods. One is modern day and the other is set during Incan times.

    The two characters never meet due to the time differences, but the guy from modern day is able to keep tabs on the Incan because he is reading the Incan's journal.

    So while it's not necessary for two characters to meet, there needs to be a bridge of some sort that helps explain why the two separate storylines are relative to each other.
     
  8. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    Tad Williams wrote the Otherland Quartet.

    Going from memory some of the characters in the story never even meet and there's four, maybe five different threads going simultaneously.

    Good read - pick it up if you have the time.
     
  9. cybrxkhan
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    Clannad. Its fans tend to overexaggerate its popularity and importance (though I admit it was a good watch, especially compared to others in its genre), but you may have came across it before. For reference, if I remember correctly, it was the bonus episode of the second season, and it should be ideally watched after the end of the second season, although I watched it after the first season (which in my opinion doesn't make too huge of a difference, perhaps).
     
  10. Piankhy
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    The only problem with that example is that my two characters live in the same time period. I still see what you're saying though.

    lol, it's stressful enough balancing two opposite personalities. My hat's off to that guy if he can pull off four or five.

    I knew I seen it before. There were two other bonus episodes besides that one too. The first series was alright, the second one was just overwhelmingly depressing though. Especially when I thought he was getting ready to lose his daughter too.
     
  11. cybrxkhan
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    Actually there were three other bonus episodes: one that took place in an alternative universe, one that took place in another alternative universe, and then a sort of bonus epilogue episode to the first season.... Actually I think there may have even been another bonus episode, but I'm not sure.

    Anyhow, still, you may want to look back at that bonus prequel episode. I think it's sort of what you're dealing with here in a very condensed manner - watch it a few times, even, and take a careful note on how the prequel hints at the personality developments and the themes of the main story. Notice if there is any difference in atmosphere or mood, or in storytelling methods, etc. etc. etc. Ultimately I think you'll be pretty amazed. From reading blogs and other places online, it seems that a number of people didn't get the point of the episode, particularly since there was a little fanservice thrown in for fun, but I think it actually was a very well-done and subtle episode that added a small - but no less insignificant - amount of depth to the overall story as a whole.
     
  12. Piankhy
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    Thanks for the reminder, I'll check it out
     
  13. Wasp
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    Maybe if they somehow directly but unknowingly influence things in each other's lives or something....
     
  14. Piankhy
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    Yeah, that's actually what I've been formulating a few ideals for.
    The only solid one I can think of right now, is that they know each other online and frequently talk to each other about their "real world" problems.
     

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