Novels With Multiple Plot Lines

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
ladymarella
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Re: Novels With Multiple Plot Lines

Post by ladymarella » November 20th, 2011, 4:04 pm

Well I had an extremely successful outlining session yesterday, thanks to all your wonderful advice :)
I dragged out my pile of drafts which is extremely thick and sorted them into piles according to plot strand, and found scenes that I had all but forgotten about writing, and that i am sure have not been typed up yet. Next I transferred each scene name onto an index card, and a few pointers to help me remember what was in the scene. This isn't quite finished as I have run out of index cards. I then started sticking scenes to a very long roll of paper, and have done up to chapter two, as I need to index the rest of the scenes before i go any further. Visualising it out there on the floor really helped me to be able to pull my structure together. Apart from the Part One, Part Two, Part Three, three act structure, I have also now decided to have large chapters that are then broken down into I, II, III etc by scene. (I first saw this idea in the Poldark series by Winston Graham and really liked it)
The idea I have at the moment is for each chapter to have one large idea (eg Chapter Two 'Reality and Expectations') and then have the scenes in there related by that, therefore hopefully making sure the plot threads stay more connected and cohesive.
So thanks everyone!
Currently composing a sprawling family saga set in 19th century England
The world may be divided into people that read, people that write, people that think, and fox-hunters.'- William Shenstone,

ladymarella
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Re: Novels With Multiple Plot Lines

Post by ladymarella » April 5th, 2012, 4:16 am

I'm bumping this thread up a very long way, but i just wanted to tell you all that I have just finished outlining my novel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks to all you lovely people who pitched in with advice and ideas, otherwise i think I never would have gotten it done. i did the last third tonight, as I was nearing finishing writing all the first drafts for the second third.
So thankyou once again :D
Currently composing a sprawling family saga set in 19th century England
The world may be divided into people that read, people that write, people that think, and fox-hunters.'- William Shenstone,

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dios4vida
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Re: Novels With Multiple Plot Lines

Post by dios4vida » April 5th, 2012, 12:01 pm

ladymarella wrote:I'm bumping this thread up a very long way, but i just wanted to tell you all that I have just finished outlining my novel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks to all you lovely people who pitched in with advice and ideas, otherwise i think I never would have gotten it done. i did the last third tonight, as I was nearing finishing writing all the first drafts for the second third.
So thankyou once again :D
Woo!! That's exciting, ladymarella, and exactly why I love to hang around these forums. Hearing that our advice helped someone like this is as good or better than getting the perfect advice on your own WIP. :D
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

Claudie
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Re: Novels With Multiple Plot Lines

Post by Claudie » April 7th, 2012, 12:06 am

Whoo, that's great! And I completely missed that thread when it popped up the first time (not a surprise, considering it was smack in the middle of NaNo).

Another piece of advice for other outlines/rewrites/next book? I do multiple plotlines ALL the time, or near enough. Try to get your hands on writing guides that talk about story structure (like JS Bell's Plot and Structure, and Larry Brooks' Story Engineering). They highlight landmarks you should hit in your story at a particular point, such as the First Plot Point, or the Midway Twist. I've found that with multiple storylines, you need to hit all these landmarks for all your POV characters at the prescribed time. So if you've got two main POV, your two main characters should cross their respective First Plot Point together, or in a nearby scene. Doing it that way also helps to concentrate the high tension and powerful moments of your novel together and make the experience more memorable.
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

ladymarella
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Re: Novels With Multiple Plot Lines

Post by ladymarella » April 8th, 2012, 2:51 am

Thanks Claudie!!!!!!
With the books you recommended which one do you think is better if I could only have one? I looked them both up on Book Depository, and they're both almost the same price at the moment
Currently composing a sprawling family saga set in 19th century England
The world may be divided into people that read, people that write, people that think, and fox-hunters.'- William Shenstone,

Claudie
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Re: Novels With Multiple Plot Lines

Post by Claudie » April 9th, 2012, 11:20 am

I'd pick Larry Brooks' first. You'll have to work through the first section, where he keeps repeating how awesome what you'll learn is without, y'know, explaining what you'll learn. But when he starts with the craft advice? It is incredible, and well worth the wait.

I can't recommend enough going back to buy JS Bell's one day, too. But I agree you have to do with your budget, and I bought them months apart.
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

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dios4vida
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Re: Novels With Multiple Plot Lines

Post by dios4vida » April 9th, 2012, 12:03 pm

Claudie wrote:You'll have to work through the first section, where he keeps repeating how awesome what you'll learn is without, y'know, explaining what you'll learn. But when he starts with the craft advice? It is incredible, and well worth the wait.
This is very true. I was starting to think I'd wasted my money on Story Engineering while he went on and on about the Six Core Competencies and how they'll change the way you write forever and blah blah. The first section is rough. But after that? Wow. I wish I'd read that book when I first started out. It would have saved me a lot of labor and frustration. (It is now, though, since because of his advice I was finally able to pinpoint why my current WIP wasn't working and know I even know how to salvage it!)
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

kghartwig
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Re: Novels With Multiple Plot Lines

Post by kghartwig » April 12th, 2012, 12:49 pm

I recently read Paolo Bacigalupi's THE WINDUP GIRL and learned a great deal from outlining the structure and storytelling afterwards. Four primary plotlines, very interesting characters, all of them difficult for me to like in one way or another (1: grasping, manipulative corporatist; 2: racist, revenge-seeking put-down elite; 3: pitiable, genetically-engineered geisha; 4: hard-ass nationalists).

The events of the various storylines all play out upon one another, but the characters rarely interact with one another. It took me peeling it apart to figure out how he was doing it. Great study.

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