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June 22nd, 2007, 01:25 AM
Is it odd in one chapter to alternate between two completely different plot lines that are happening at the same time? It seems effective to me, but I wanted outside input.

June 22nd, 2007, 02:40 AM
I don't think it's odd at all.

Tony Williams
June 22nd, 2007, 03:39 AM
It's commonly used. However, I find it a bit irritating if two (or more) stories keep running in parallel for too long. You need to plan how and when to merge them.

Stephen Palmer
June 22nd, 2007, 05:28 AM
There's no problem with this.

For a lesson in how to perform this trick successfully - except, with three lines - read William Gibson's Count Zero.

June 22nd, 2007, 06:25 AM
Read Stephen Brust's Taltos series. He is very good and running multiple story lines. Taltos is the book where he runs three plots at the same time.

James Carmack
June 22nd, 2007, 09:20 AM
In a single chapter, be sure you have some sort of divider to distinguish the shift from one to the next. A lot of newbies try to be Nightcrawler and teleport all over the place. It's a mean thing to do to the reader. As long as you've got proper demarcation, there shouldn't be any problem at all.

For a larger treatment of parallel plotlines, I recommend using alternating chapters. Keeps things more cohesive that way. However, you seem to be talking about something that's both simultaneous and limited in scope, so the advice probably isn't applicable to this particular case.

June 27th, 2007, 01:56 AM
Pretty much anything by Gibson, actually.

By the way, if you think chapters are a problem for your "thread count", lose the chapters. Nobody says you have to have chapters.

June 27th, 2007, 05:19 PM
No one says that you have to have chapters, but they have their uses.

I agree with James that in a longer work, breaking the POV shift into chapters feels better.

June 28th, 2007, 06:06 AM
I agree with James that in a longer work, breaking the POV shift into chapters feels better.

But breaking it where the plots demand or where it feels good to the writer also has its uses.

James Carmack
June 28th, 2007, 08:25 AM
Perhaps I'm misinterpreting what you're saying, lin, but I don't see those as being mutually exclusive.