Literary Lab has a post today about when plots and subplots get in the way of each other. Have you had that happen, where the climax of one plot downplays or even makes the climax of the other impossible? I think in most books this isn’t a problem as most have one main plot with several supporting subplots and as long as the main plot thrives the others are malleable.
Domey brings up the point of multi-plotted epics. You know, those books that follow several people/situations through to the end, alternating between each of them. Some of these novels tie up the plot threads along the way, first one, then another. But Domey makes a good point that this often leaves us with little tension as we get to the end since most of the questions have already been wrapped up. There are also books where the multiple threads are all climaxed together, or close enough together so as not to break the tension.
Doemy brought up Anna Karenina, which is one of my favorite books. There are two main plot threads that are so closely woven together they are almost indistinguishable. However one is point and one counterpoint to what Tolstoy was trying to say. The counterpoint ends, tragically, just before the point finds its conclusion and the heartbreaking ending of Anna emphasizes the completeness of Levin’s life. It’s very interesting how these two threads play off each other.
Have any of you written multi plotted books or do you stick to main plot/subplot? How do you resolve your plotlines? Together, gradually, or does the resolving of one plot negate the others? How are the plots/subplots resolved in some of your favorite books? I'm always interested in how some of these amazing authors are able to weave together so many threads into an amazing tapestry of words without any snarls or tangles. The sequel to Far From the Sea has several interwoven plotlines, though I think there is still one thread that the others weave around and I’m interested in how other authors handle this.