My story has two POV characters, Delilah and Jack, who start separate and meet ~ 1/4 of the way though. Delilah's story starts several years before the Jack's and is the entire reason he even has a story at all.
The thing I'm not sure about is, because Delilah's story starts so far ahead of Jack's, how do I structure the story so the the reader will care about both characters individually as well as their relationship once they meet, without the story being disjointed and ineffective
There's a few ideas I've thought of:
Start the story when they meet and going back to the starts of their respective stories and alternating chapters following each one past the point hen they meet, to the end of the book. But I've read that en media res is often kind of boring, as readers generally prefer chronological order, and aren't invested enough to put in the effort to follow the rest of the story.
Start the story when they meet and treat everything from before that point as back story, sprinkling it in as and when. That would probably be ok for Delilah, but I think Jack's character development would be better served starting sooner.
Follow one exclusively until they meet, the indruce the other. I have obvious concerns with this one, for one, adding a POV character halfway though is always risky and I think both their stories deserve a share of the spotlight. Alternatively, I could completely omit one character's POV. This has a similar problem. That both character arcs would work better as a POV. Internal stuff makes up a larger proportion of Jack's arc, so it wouldn't work that well without getting in his head, but Delilah's storyline up to the meeting is more dynamic.
Have their stories before they meet be two separate books and another book with alternating POV for the story after they've met. Their stories upto when they meet isn't particularly satisfying as it stands, but I'm still at the stage where I don't have many concrete ideas about what happens so it could be made into one relatively easily. However, I'd be changing to a character the reader doesn't already know, so that doesn't seem much better than the last option.
Obviously this isn't an exhaustive list of options! It's just the main ideas I've thought of and been able to research. I'd really appreciate any input you guys could give me on this! No knowing how I'm going to format the plot is one of the main things making it harder for me to push through perfectionism and actually write this damn thing!