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I know a lot of history, and so I know a lot about what was happening at different parts of the world at different times. And I still find myself surprised from time to time to realize that two different events in different countries happened at the same time. So you probably need charts with time lines to show how events in the experiences of one character ...


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"The current plot" should be based in conflicting ideals and morals to begin with. That makes "plot based" and "morals based" betrayal the same. I suggest you read some stories that have more to say than "random plot activities." A good place to start is with Cold Light by Karl Edward Wagner. The core of the story is ...


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I use Excel or Word tables. There are key things I find work: Order events in chronological order and line up characters' story lines so they run in synch. Number the events and make a brief description of what happens at that point. No need to drill down to the minor details - keep it top level. Map the quality of each event in a character's story line ...


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Calendar. Get a blank electronic calendar with appropriate days -- there are Word templates and the like-- and fill in the appropriate data.


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Just So: I'm sorry, what's wrong with a simple timeline? One where each character is on a long chart, and events they participate are highlighted? A pencil line is for any time they aren't doing anything, and a fat line for when they are. The highlighting can be in different colors, with the same colors for characters both together AND simultaneous. If you ...


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I like to track timelines with the help of diagrams, such as a simple flow diagram. I found it to be very helpful if I'm tracking three character's separate timelines (at the same time) and also to match events happening to two or more of them simultaneously. This method is preventing me to leave loose ends on the story.


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If you're writing a novel, you even need to use multiple storylines. Most often, there is a love line in novels, and you can also tell more about the minor characters. Usually such novels combine detective story, mysticism, history and high prose. There is something similar in the book "Panserhjerte" by U Nesbø and "The Passenger" by Jean-...


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Any decent novel is going to have multiple plot lines, each containing most of the elements of plot that you listed. Not all characters or figures in a story are working towards the same goals - and often enough, even when they do have the same goals they have different routes to reaching them. Take a (relatively) new novel - The Far Side of the Stars by ...


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You may want to look at some fix-up novels. These are works built up of smaller pieces of fiction that were often published separately first. Two such works are A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. and Operation Chaos by Poul Anderson. These give you an idea how such smaller stories can fit into a larger one.


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There's so many aspects to the process of writing that's it's near impossible to identify the best thing to do. I don't write much personally, but I've been helping my son in high school lately and finding that efficient planning seems to help him complete his writing assignments with ease. There's nothing more demotivating than homework and writing about a ...


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As a counterargument, I've actually seen it said that hiding the actual motivation of the main character throughout the book isn't a smart idea. I heard this said in regards to a comparison between Ed Brisson's The Ballad of Sang and John Wick. Both stories have very similar plots (a trained assassin going on a rampage because of a minor personal loss), but ...


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Depends on what you mean. If there is something in the story that seemingly doesn't make sense based on the information presented to the audience, and this is deliberate to highlight some inconsistency or plot element to the audience that the characters don't see, then what you have looks like a plot hole but isn't. The truth is that "under the hood&...


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There is a world of difference between a plot twist and a gotcha ending. Plot twists happen to characters. Plot twists make the story deeper because they reframe something that's been there all along. Characters' plans and beliefs are upended, friends are exposed as enemies, the MacGuffin is a red herring. Plot twists add tremendous conflict by putting ...


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I think it depends on the POV of the story. For instance, if your story is told through an omniscient POV where no interiority of the characters is revealed directly -- meaning that everything we know about the characters comes from their actions, inactions, reactions, absence of reactions, gestures, and dialog -- then the entirety of all of the characters' ...


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Are we getting his point of view? Unless the character is seriously disturbed, and we can tell he is seriously disturbed, withholding important knowledge is almost certain to come across as cheating. If he is working toward a certain end, he's bound to think of it. If he is viewed entirely from the outside, it can be feasible.


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With a Twist: There's a whole vein of books and movies that are like this, in the thriller category. The MC is usually portrayed as a kind of mastermind, but sometimes the concealment is enough. While books can do this, I think of Lucky Number Slevin, Red Sparrow, and What Lies Beneath as movies where the end is a twist plot that flips the whole story on its ...


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You just need to shift your perspective. This scenario isn't preventing character growth, it's forcing character growth. Before her marriage, your character has never really been tested. She's been around decent people, doing decent things. No one is really abusive to her, so she can get away with being passive --maybe something traumatic in her past ...


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These cases often boil down to one of two things: The unexpected, where even with all their meticulous planning, something unforeseen happens. If it could not reasonably have been foreseen, it doesn't harm the competence or credibility of your character. The trap-within-a-trap, where the character feigns incompetence to get themselves into a better position....


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A Few thoughts: There are a wide variety of ways this has been handled in books and movies. Here are just a few of them. Appearing to do things that look a bit incompetent may just be a consequence of constantly having to improvise to get around bad situations, or it may be the spy is having to serve multiple incompatible goals/masters to make complicated ...


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I recognize the dilemma from my current WIP. What I've decided, much like you, is that having characters sneaking around and being smart and cautious isn't going to work (there's a reason some advice that a protagonist should never be a coward). A novel needs drama and the best way to get it is with a confrontation of some sort. (And as you mention, ...


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You have lots of ways to tackle this. Some are: they could interact indirectly. Having the antagonists talk amongst themselves about something done by an unknown person and how frustrated they are will let you do character development for them, without them saying things to the protagonist. The protagonist working with someone else to get set for their next ...


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I'm in a similar place, but I think outlining is worthwhile. In the end, I think discovering what sort of writing suits you best and can lead to the easiest flow of output is the best way to move forward. Are you a discovery writer? Then you might be able to continue expanding on your initial ideas. Do you thrive with a structure? Then building an outline ...


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Story Telling is hard and some people are naturally better at it than others, but like writing it can learned. Just as we, as writers, learn the craft of writing good narrative sentences, engaging dialog, and making our scenes come alive with a sense of setting and motion, there is a whole lot to learn about telling a story is satisfying and enriching. Your ...


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Honestly, as long as you write a compelling stories the character will develop naturally. That isn't just for urban fantasy either. A good example to read is the Dresden Files. He already knows about the supernatural, but, as an occult detective/wizard, is always learning more. As situations are pushed on him, he learns to become a more mature, wise person. ...


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