The Background: I'm writing a novel that is set in the working quarters of a cruise ship. It's named after the "stage identitiy" of the main characters. (Let's call her Nancy.) All the subplots I have developed so far nicely hinge on Nancy. However, one of my secondary characters (Tim) turned out to have an excellent story to tell that is predestined to be a subplot in the Nancy-novel. Tim's story is neatly tied to another character. Unfortuanetly, this character is not Nancy, and no: It cannot, ever, be Nancy. Nancy is a concerned witness of Tim's story. That is all.
The Problem: I'm determined to tell Tim's story, since it is important to me and an integral part of life at sea. However, I'm afraid it will feel out of place in a novel called and centered around Nancy.
- What is your experience with subplots? When do they become too complex or emotionally engaging to act as valid subplots? Have you ever picked a subplot from it's original story and wrote an independent novel around it?
- How can I engage the reader emotionally with a strong subplot without drawing his main sympathies the protagonist?
- Lastly: Since life at sea is communal, I considered using multiple points of view to capture the "village feeling" prevailing in ship communities. I feel that I have enough interesting secondary characters to pull this of. Yet, the novel should remain centered on Nancy. How do I weigh my narrators to make sure that Nancy is the single main character?*
*Yes, I concidered renaming the novel. However, Nancy is the core of the story and I feel the name is well justified.