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  1. #1

    The Convulted Plot. Do you love it?

    There have been a few plots I've found fascinating that others hate. That is, the convoluted. I've known for awhile now that some books and movies that I like are hated by others more critical than I.

    To give an example, I love Steven Erikson and I know other do. I've found that the most common complaint about his work is his hard to follow plot. I also found out, after leaving the theater, that Pirates of the Carribean 3 is a bad movie.

    Anyway, I like Erikson and I liked the third Pirates of the Carribean movie. For some reason, I've never had trouble following convoluted plots and i can't figure out if that means I'm really smart or really stupid. I always thought it was a matter of taste.

    This thread is for those who love convoluted plots. And if you don't, then say so. I'd like to know what novels contain convolutedness so I may celebrate their existence.

  2. #2
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    I liked POC 3 too, though not as much as the first two. 2 had a convoluted plot too, being the first part of 3, but I think people just ignored it for the battle scenes.

    One novel that I like a lot that some seem to think is convoluted is Hal Duncan's Vellum. It's really very simple to follow, if you accept that there are different universes with different versions of the same people. But if you're not into multiple universes, it's probably a little disconcerting.

    Tim Powers' novels are the most tightly plotted I've ever read in SFF. Everything in the plot relates to everything else. But because they are thrillers, they are usually pretty easy for people to follow nonetheless.

    I don't think people really have a problem with convoluted plots. It's just that if you aren't very interested in the characters, dialogue, basic story premise, etc., then you're not going to be paying enough attention and not going to care enough to follow a tricky plot structure. It's more the level of engagement that's a factor, not the complications of plot.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by KatG View Post
    I don't think people really have a problem with convoluted plots. It's just that if you aren't very interested in the characters, dialogue, basic story premise, etc., then you're not going to be paying enough attention and not going to care enough to follow a tricky plot structure. It's more the level of engagement that's a factor, not the complications of plot.
    I agree. For example a friend of mine read Eldest by C. Paolini and thought that it was good. I, however, found to book to be awful. We discussed our opinions and I came to the conclusion that I had just not been interested in following the plot and therefore completely blew off the rest of the book. Most people form opinions of whether or not the plot will be good in the first chapter or two. Due to this formation of opinions one could ignore the entirety of the book/movie just because of the plot structure of the first chapter (Sometimes for good reason. Other times, just because).

    Edit: I love convoluted plots, by the way. They make for very interesting reads.

  4. #4
    Cranky old broad AuntiePam's Avatar
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    I'm okay with convoluted aka "tricky" plots. I don't like anything to be too simple, so if the plot is straightforward, then I'll want complex characters.

    But I don't like convoluted for the sake of convoluted. I can't think of a book example offhand, but the TV series Damages was unnecessarily convoluted and in retrospect, didn't hold together. People did stupid things because to do the smart thing would have stopped the story. OTOH, The Wire was convoluted but it made sense.

    As for Malazan, I'm enjoying the books but am fairly lost with regard to the various plots, who's on whose side, motivations, betrayals, etc.

  5. #5
    I think, for the most part, that something is considered convoluted when either a whole lot of stuff happens in a short period of time or when several different subplots are going on at once. For some, this is hard to follow.

    There is a point when convolution goes a little too far though. This is apparent in the Matrix sequels. The first was pretty complex, it introduced some philosophical discussions and made allusions to Alice and Wonderland. But it just stuck with a few things and went with it. The sequels, however, had dialogue that sounded like a mix between Startfleet Command and Rene Descartes writing Dada poetry.

    But I love convolution because so much is going on. If I'm going to read 800 page novels, something better be happening in them.

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