Many Stories into One

One way to add complexity to your fiction is to employ the technique of weaving two or more individual stories into a larger novel. When done well, your reader won’t be able to stop turning pages as the clock strikes midnight. But if it’s only halfway executed, you’re doing yourself and your reader a  disservice. Here are four tips to making the best out of multiple story-lines. 

1. All of the main characters must be compelling: Now this doesn’t mean that your characters have to be likable. But your reader should want to know what happens next to the protagonist. They need to be just as eager when each section begins as they are when it ends. To be fair, individuals will ultimately prefer one character over another. However because you never know which will be the favorite, write them as if they will all be the star.

2. Consider what’s at stake: Create a side-by-side list of what’s at stake for each story-line and see how they compare. While not all of your main characters need to be dodging death every few pages, make the stakes of equal weight. One character shouldn’t be stressing over their high school talent show while another risks their life to save children from a building collapse. You run the risk of your reader tuning out the story with the lesser stakes.  

3. Connect the stories: There should be a common thread that ties all of the stories together. You may set everything in the same city, have the stories span generations within a family, or make the main characters be on opposing sides of the same problem. The point is to make your reader understand why these stories have been put together. While this isn’t 100% necessary, it will help keep the book in your reader’s mind long after they read the last page. 

4. Don’t seem to play favorites: If you can’t create multiple stories of quality, perhaps rethink using the one that doesn’t fit. A reader can tell if you skimp on one story, and they’ll question why you bothered to include it in the first place. Feel free to see one story or one character as your baby over the others. Writers are people, and sometimes we play favorites. The tricks is writing well enough that no one knows you are.

What do you do in order to make all of your interconnected stories worth reading?

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