I am used to stories which have one premise which through sequential events is proven by the character. A few stories like war stories can have several premises each linked to a specific character, and no general premise.
Here is my issue, one of the stories I am developing has multiple main characters, each sequential scene is told from the POV of a different character who is a passenger on the same train. I start before the train boards and use a new character to sequentially narrate the journey leading to a train crash, which is told from a new POV.
(The main point of the story is how each person sees the world differently and interprets the objective reality through subjective lenses)
After the train crash, I am kind of stuck.
I could finish each character’s premise through the character’s arcs, but that seems unsatisfying. I feel that I need something bigger, a main story premise, yet it eludes me.
I am not sure this is a proper SE question, but I thought to ask anyways. Do you have any suggestions?
P.S. Just writing to see where it leads it not an option for me; I am a heavy plotter and need most of the story to be well defined and structured before I write the first word.
Here, it is more a character driven story in the sense that all the initial characters till the train crash are already fully formed in my mind and have a vividly unique take on the world. But, as I said, although I know what happens till the train crash, It is a blank afterwards. i need to know where it goes afterwards.
Also while I understand the need for character arcs, in this particular story I am not certain it is right. the general advice for multiple POVs stories is to limit the number of characters to less than ½ a dozen, in which case returning to a character in scenes throughout the novel is needed and developing the character arc is essential.
In this case, I see the scenes as each told from a different perspective. The reader having been in the head of the people surrounding the present POV character can follow what happens to them through the present POV external observation. Yet, I am afraid to confuse the reader with as many characters as there are scenes, and lack of a unified premise.
EDIT see @what answer's comments for premise-less stories discussion.
I added a bounty for story suggestions.
Maybe if I am more specific it will help:
- I start with a jihadist suicide-bomber who is ready to sacrifice his life for a "greater cause”, I explore how he came to be here, his reasons, and inner struggle.
- I switch to an elder person who comments on the persons surrounding him, most notably a young teenager who evokes paternal feelings in him and nostalgia for an earlier time.
- I switch to the teenager, who is trying to figure how to scam the other passengers, most notably she thinks she can get good money from the elder person by manipulating him and blackmailing him with a pedophilia accusation.
There are other characters, but these are the main key story-line ones.
- The teen may also call on an adult conspirator to play the role of the mother to make the pedophilia accusation more profitable.
- The bomb explodes, with a possibility of first going back to the suicide bomber to see his doubts resolved and purpose reaffirmed.
- The crash is described from the conductor perspective; or may be omitted going directly to the aftermath.
- The teen is busy scavenging wallets from corpses and unconscious victims, the other characters seeing her think she is helping, or trying to resuscitating them.
That’s about where I am stuck.
(my main goal is exploring the suicide bomber POV and social anomie with the teen)
The problem with character arcs is that I want to fully explore the predatory teen and the bomber... with an arc, the teen would have to mellow, be transformed by the tragedy and maybe help the others…