Tuesday, April 17, 2012
How important are plot layers to stories?
Initially, I was very hesitant to read the book as I was scared that it would make me suspicious of my own MS. I am half way through the book and let me tell you that it is a wonderful tool that helps us write better.
One thing that I was delighted to read was about adding plot layers to a story. I had heard a lot about this tool: plot layers to enhance a story. Many people may mistake a subplot and a layer. Maass has explained subplot as plot lines given to different characters while layers are plot lines given to the same character.
Maass talks about a plot being layered when more than one thing is happening simultaneously to the hero/heroine. He has a murder to solve, and at the same time his father is dying of cancer. Why not add a further layer? He is searching for the soul of Mozart’s piano concerti. What is it that gives them their power, their drive? He has to know, so along the way he achieves that insight, too. Thus, there are levels of problems to utilize: public problems, personal problems and secondary problems. Small mysteries, nagging questions, dangling threads- those also can be woven into the plot.
The argument behind adding more plot layers is that it reflects the multitiered complexity that most people feel is the condition of life today.
I think my MS has maximum 3 plot layers, that too by accident. My protagonist has a main problem and two small complications. That’s it. What about all your protagonists. Do they have plenty of problems to wade through in the course of your stories? How many plot layers have you added to your stories? Do you agree with the view that the more plot layers the richer a story becomes? What is your opinion about it?
As I will be busy with some personal work, my next post will be on Tuesday 24th April. Till then, keep writing.