Combine 2 Plots?

What to Write Next?

I’ve just wrapped up a few novel project, or else they are cooling down. It’s time to swim around and hope that I find some interesting bait and get hooked on the next novel. In fact, I’m eyeing two bits of bait right now and trying to decide if either will do. The problem is that ideas for novels need to be developed and filled out. I’m wondering if I can cut down the development time by combining two ideas?
Idea #1. One is an idea for a short chapter book (about 12,000 words), in which there’s a MC, her best friend, and her grandmother. The conflicts will be small, mostly school oriented events which are appropriate for 2-4 graders.

Idea #2. The second idea has a central event around which everything happens; the stakes are much higher and the character emotions will be deeper. And the audience could go much higher, even up to high school or adult audiences, depending on how old I make the characters.

Both ideas have the potential to keep me interested for the long-period of time it would take to write, revise, edit (REPEAT until satisfied). I may eventually write both. But which project should I try next?

Combine Story Ideas?

So, I’m wondering if the two can be combined in ways that will enrich each other. The big stakes event would take on smaller, family conflicts and feel cosier. The short chapter idea would be enlarged and feel more universal and affect a reader in deeper ways.

But you see the difficulties. For one, I would have to give up the idea of a short chapter book. Someday, I want to write for that audience!

The Big Event story has possibilities for some deeper emotions, but only if it’s for a teen audience or upper middle grade. So, if I tried to move the story to, say fourth or fifth grade, it might work as a happy medium, but would I be happy with it? Would it be the worst of both stories or the best of both?

On the other hand, both stories need enrichment and I do see how this meshing of plots could make for a stronger story.

It Comes Down to Voice

In the end, I may have to write some samples and see where it goes. Can I create a believable and interesting voice for the combined story, or does each story demand a different voice? Exploring options like this takes time, but I think it will be time well spent.

3 thoughts on “0

  1. I think it’s interesting how you developed your #2 idea–do you tend to think of what mood/themes you want to convey in a story before you’ve got the characters/plots/etc? I’m always interested in how people get an idea for a story.

    I think you’re ultimately right to just go with the flow and see how your sample writing goes. Who knows, maybe you’ll surprise yourself, and get a third even better idea! But overall, I think you have two completely different goals for these stories, and you have to see when you’re writing whether or not you gravitate for the deeper, more visceral writing that you seem to want to do in #2.

    Great post!

  2. Susana, thanks for the comment. Idea #2 really came from an Event, and idea was to write about the event, partly because there’s a built-in dramatic plot line; the only question is if it ends tragically or miraculously. Details of the Event demand certain type of characters and actions and settings. It also has possibilities for the mood/themes, although there is some wiggle room. Idea #1, on the other hand, began with Characters. When I do that, I often struggle with the plot, though, so I have one idea based on Characters and another on Events — well, it might work to combine them, if Voice will be nice about it.


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