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Author Topic: Fantasy Sub plots/ character trials - When is it too many?  (Read 1680 times)
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« on: February 09, 2018, 10:50:31 AM »

Hey amazing QT community,

I am just revising my first draft YA fantasy and I find myself re-evaluating my outline. How man is too many sub plots and/or character trials. I have about 4 major trials that the antagonist traps my MC in before we get to the main conflict's climax. Is this too many? Am I bogging my story down with too many rise and falls? I understand the subplots needing to be there, but at some point can I hurt the progression of my story by putting too many obstacles in the way?

Look forward to any feedback!
Sarah Ahiers (Falen)
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2018, 03:26:27 PM »

Yeah you can definitely bog down a story with too many subplots. Usually in western literature we follow the rule of threes: the three act structure, 3 disasters and an ending, etc.

Are the trials making things worse and harder?

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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2018, 04:20:14 PM »

I think you can have as many incidents as you like as long as every one substantively changes the protagonist's situation in a way that moves them closer to the final confrontation.

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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2018, 07:46:46 PM »

I think it depends on how the trials/obstacles have been written and how the characters deal with them.

A few years back I stopped reading a book about 2/3 of the way through because the characters hit an obstacle that felt as if the author had thrown it in just to make up a word count deficiency. The characters ran into the antagonist's stronghold with little planning, knowing it could result in their total defeat, they accomplished hardly anything for the amount of risk they took, and then they became totally hopeless and despairing after they escaped again. So what was the point? The only plot development that happened over the course of the event was the building up of the antagonist into an even bigger super villain than before, and that destroyed the believability of the rest of the story.

I think you need to check whether or not each trial/obstacle has a purpose that helps with plot and/or character development. Too many obstacles that haven't been foreshadowed can knock readers out of the story and leave them scratching their heads. You don't want to destroy the believability of the story by making readers feel like you as the author are playing god and punishing your characters for no real reason.


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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2018, 02:45:25 AM »

I've got 40 trials in my current YA thriller. It's not the number, but as was said earlier, how they allow your character to progress and grow. (And the inevitability)
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