As I mentioned yesterday, I received my editor’s suggestions on the same day I traveled home from Europe.
And… it didn’t hurt. *Happy dance.*
There’s something really wonderful about having an editor who understands what I wrote. She immediately caught on with what I want to do with the story, so her suggestions are amazing.
Well… By amazing, I mean my reaction is something like this: *head desk* Why didn’t I think of that?
There’s one thing I picked out of her editor’s letter that I thought I’d share. It’s relevant to anyone who writes something epic and complex.
When we write stories like that, we have to deal with multiple story-lines.
That’s great, because more than one story-line keeps things interesting. On the other hand, more than one story-line can dilute the tension. Especially when you’re going to leave them open-ended for the purposes of a sequel.
How does one combat this?
Pretty much by making the plot-lines just long enough. In other words. The big problem with multiple plot-lines are that we don’t give enough attention to enough of them. Which means that the reader doesn’t get a chance to connect to that particular line enough to care.
What happens if something goes wrong in the sub-story? Does it matter at all? Why? The reader needs to know. Same as with the main story.
I’m not saying you need to take every line through the three-act-structure. All you need to do is pick more important ones, i.e. ones that will be important in the immediate sequel, then extend them a bit. Just enough so that the reader gets a feel for the goal, conflict and stakes.
Because that’s what they’ll care about when then they want to read the next book.
And then make sure you have some awesome main story-lines.
How do you approach stories with more than one plot?
P.S. In case you’re wondering what happened to News Day, I moved it to tomorrow so I could get some news in. If you have something you think I should share, please e-mail me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com.