Archive | January, 2018

Braiding Plotlines

27 Jan

My back spasmed and locked me up a little under two weeks ago – I am on vacation for something like the next ten days, and just starting to get back into the swing of things. So if you were following along on my FB and are curious how my Fitness Staycation is going, let’s just say I’m looking forward to getting back into things, but I’m not in any rush to reinjure myself (I don’t even know what I did). You’d think being barely able to walk would give me lots of time for writing, editing, or whatever; but not so much.

I’m not one of those people who has a problem working on multiple projects at once. Don’t get me wrong, I do notice that my voice can change, especially if I’m doing something pretty stylized, but I try not to worry about it too much in rough drafts. I like to agree with Terry Pratchett.

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But let’s not wax rhetorical. Apparently I write epic stories, so I can have events going on with a different group of characters and really have different stories intertwined, but it starts to get complicated when it seems like I’m what could be in two different novels – they share a theme, but that’s about it. I’m told I’m really good at balancing out story threads, or at least devoting enough time to my cast of snowflakes. I usually don’t worry about potential problems (Plotline A happened this day, Plotline B happened chronologically later in the story telling, the characters in A couldn’t get there…) in the first draft, but I don’t want to get fancy with skipping around with time for the sake of simplicity.

So what I didn’t expect this time around was for my A Plot to take a backseat. I’ve been diddling around with the ideas for this novel for years, technically, and Pantster that I am, took a scenic detour and went somewhere very different. Problem being, one of the characters got stuck in that plot and, while it does feel unbalanced, I’m liking the way it’s going, even if it’s progressing much slower than I anticipated. The problem is, of course, natural breaks in the story almost feel like mini-cliffhangers as we change locations. Granted, all of this can be changed in revision, up to and including “Hey, this belongs as its own project, where I can devote time to the ideas properly.” And I’m effectively writing two projects at once.

I’m not going to make this so much about advice but a sounding board. I try not to worry about devoting equal time to different parts of the story – but how do you handle it when you have competing story lines in the same novel? I’ll also point out that, 10+ years ago on my first reading of A Game of Thrones, I read all of Danys’ chapters first (okay, about three of her chapters in) then went back and read the rest of the novel. I know I’m not alone.

 

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