1. motherconfessor

    motherconfessor New Member

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    Multiple plot lines or singular

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by motherconfessor, Mar 16, 2017.

    I'm writing a novel and am currently having the problem of working out if I should have multiple plotlines or a singular one (with maybe one of two subplots running underneath)

    The central plot is about what happens when a "hidden heir" reclaims the throne but has no experience in ruling. The character (a prince) is struggling to win over the opinion of the people, who at first were happy, but are starting to notice that poverty still exists, famine is still a problem and since the new heir, not much has happened to improve their life. If anything, it's a little worse.

    An advisor suggests marriage, with which the prince isn't all too happy about (and don't worry, it's not a romance about that) but I'm wondering if this plot is enough of if I should have an additional plot to "thicken" the story, as it were. There's lot that can be here (political thriller, moral questioning, duty over love etc.) not to mention his affair with a woman that would destroy the kingdom were it to be found out.

    The second plot holds the same characters and seems to weave in amongst the original, but involves the death of witches and strongly follows the witch ambassador, rather than the Prince, for about half the story. The second plot would create fear in the people, and once the prince "solves" this problem, it would instil faith and public opinion, but I'm unsure if I'm shoehorning in a plot or adding additional depth.

    As so far, it definitely feels like shoehorning as it's like Chapter One: Plot A, Chapter Two: Plot B, but I think I can slow down plot two and dabble it through.

    Also, considering I'm writing close-third person from multiple perspectives (about three main characters, and a few additional others that serve plot) which may be too much for just a singular plot. Maybe the second plot just doesn't feel "authentic" enough for the story.

    I don't know, what do you guys think?
     
  2. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    A lot of it comes down to personal opinion. Personally, it throws me off when I spend the first few chapters getting to know and investing myself in one character, only to have the story drop them and move on to a second person. True, I might end up liking the second dude, but more often than not its too much flipflop for me. I'm a very simple person, and when I'm reading for pleasure I find it really great when there is one protagonist with one goal and one villain standing in his way. Everything else in the story is there to enhance that basic premise.

    That said, if your second plot with witches can be done without taking the spotlight off of the prince, power to it!
     
  3. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    You could write it like Holes. That book has a pretty well-executed subplot.
     
  4. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    I suspect that you'll need some sort of sub-plot to give some diversity to your story, but my main problem is with the basic implausibility. With the proviso that, if it's fantasy, you can handwave all sorts of stuff.

    1/ "Hidden heir"; a staple of fairy tales. Tell me one in real life. In real life, the steps to the throne were frequently bloody, and rarely without some conflict (look at the feeding frenzy when Henry VIII died). You're more likely to get away with a "mistaken identity" story, like that of Perkin Warbeck - but how he manages to gain enough support to claim his throne is another matter; Perkin didn't.
    2/ "the people aren't happy". Through most of history, the people have been unhappy; and known their place; they've had it emphasized to them often enough, and usually with blood and sword. Peasant's revolts (Wat Tyler) were usually put down with extreme prejudice; only with an increasing urban population did it become feasible for a revolution (French revolution) to succeed. Only in modern times, when we have a constitutional monarchy, does the monarch feel some sort of need for PR.
    3/ "An advisor suggests marriage"...to please the people? This is straight out of the Charles and Diana handbook. Historically, the king took a wife (arranged marriage for political reasons) to beget an heir (to obviate the "hidden heir" problem) to prevent the sort of political infighting that took place, e.g. when Henry VIII died.
    4/"...his affair...that would destroy the kingdom...". Come on; Henry VIII (OK, I'm going on about him, but if you know all about him, you've got most of the basics covered!) had mistresses ALL over the place...the number of children named Fitzroy (fils-roi = son of the king) on his account...
     
  5. JE Loddon

    JE Loddon Active Member

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    I think having two main plots, each with multiple perspectives, might be a bit too much.
     
  6. motherconfessor

    motherconfessor New Member

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    Shadowfax, I understand your concern, but all is well. 1) the prince is a legitimate heir that has disposed a usurper whom originally came from another kingdom but helped during a great war 2) the people aren't happy, revolution has sparked in a nearby kingdom (and succeeded) people are getting ideas + the advisors are just thinking ahead IN CASE a revolution happens 3) the marriage is about money + trade ties 4) the affair will have ripple effects considering a) who the woman is b) who her family is c) how the people would feel once they found out their prince was with her.

    I think you're right. I think a stronger subplot would have a better affect than two main plots. Thank you!
     
  7. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Mother, you need to ask yourself this question: Do you have a strong enough understanding of plot to write a story with a single plot line? If you can't write a successful story that only has one plot line, you won't be able to write a story that has multiple plot lines.
     

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