Multiple Storylines

Q&A Notes Webinar: “SETTING UP CHARACTER AND STORY, PART II”

From the Webinar Archives of Syd Field The Art of Visual Storytelling.

Q: Batia asks: “When weaving storylines together, are there any guidelines for ensuring that the intersections aren’t too convenient, i.e., that the intersections ring artfully true rather than seem like a lazy way out?”

A: Good question, Batia. I mean, I always say that when we’re writing a nonlinear story — and this really relates to the nonlinear storyline — that you can structure all the stories you are writing about, whether it’s two or three — I always use two because it makes it simpler to execute the storyline with enough dimension. I usually write the storyline out on one or two sheets of paper. And then I’ll take the second storyline, I’ll write that out on one or two sheets of paper, and then I will structure both storylines independently of each other. And then I will see where or what is the best place to really put those storylines into the main storyline. So we get a smooth flowing storyline even though it covers two or three stories.

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