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Author Topic: Single or multiple plots?  (Read 640 times)

Offline ScarletBea

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Single or multiple plots?
« on: August 17, 2018, 08:02:32 AM »
Today there's a very interesting article on the main site about "weaving a narrative" (check here).

Do you prefer books with a single plot, or do you like the massive expanding books with lots of 'side roads'?

I admit to being a fan of the big complex ones, although there are times when I just want to 'relax' and read a 'more direct' one.
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Offline Slaykomimi

Re: Single or multiple plots?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2018, 10:59:53 AM »
As on about every post I wrote here allready my answer is, it depends. But in my opinion these sidearcs were actually more and more part of the main arc, but just a little to explain how the next scenario in the main arc happened, which I would actually prefer. It helps to make the reader understand certain things and avoids a Deus Ex Machina sometimes.

for example, imagine in the hobbit when smaug left the mountain to attack that village (I can´t recall all the names and dont know the endlish names either, sorry) and he got killed. You could count that as sidearc cause no matter if told or not, smaug wouldn´t come back so the hobbit and the dwarfs were safe, the arc itself just told what exactly happened and explained a lot. now think how it would be without that arc, pretty much unsatisfying I think.

Same book, I also thought it was just bad at the last fight how suddenly these birdman (again sorry for not knowing the english word or not remembering their name at all) came to aid in the war, it was never explained (if I remember right) how they knew that there will be a fight and their help is required, I would´ve liked a small chapter or at least a little insight about how they got message about it and prepared for the fight (maybe it was also just cut out at the german translation).

For me these scenes were never sidearcs or macro arcs or anything but jsut that the camera shifted for a little while to explain the whole story a little better.
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Offline NedMarcus

Re: Single or multiple plots?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2018, 12:21:11 PM »
I guess that most people will say the same thing, but it depends :)  Whatever fits the story best is good for me.

Offline BradCarsten

Re: Single or multiple plots?
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2018, 06:17:08 PM »
I don't mind multiple plots with multiple point-of-view characters so long as they resolve before switching characters. I hate it when I am really into someone's arc, they're about to be attacked by a gaggle of geese, and then the chapter ends and we're back with Frikkie the stablehand mucking out the stable. At that point I normally put down the book and go to bed.
Riftwalkers (The King and Guardian): An Epic Portal Fantasy.

Offline Skip

Re: Single or multiple plots?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2018, 02:38:32 AM »
I'm one for the single story. I want something with an arc to it, something that has something to say or an emotion to convey. I prefer songs to medleys.

One of many reasons why LoTR is so good is that Tolkien wrote it as one book. One story. If it were written today, we'd have whole novels devoted to the doings of Gandalf. There's be one that followed Gollum into Mordor. And back. Tolkien knew where the story lay. The MMN (Modern Monster Novel) is more interested in exploring a world.

That can be fun, but I'm a writer and I've my own world to explore. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe it's because I keep comparing those giganto-stories with the classic mainstream novels I've been reading.

For a comparison I think of how Walter Moseley told the story of Easy Rawlins, or how Patrick O'Brian told the story of the friendship between Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. Those novels are self-contained and utterly focused on the story at hand, yet also tell the larger story, whether it be Los Angeles in the 1950s and 1960s, or the Napoleonic Wars and life at sea.