Coordinating Story Lines

In the Planet Autumn series, a group of people is dispatched to the planet to explore it over a span of two years. The first book, “Prelude To Autumn”, has everyone getting oriented at the Central Station. Starting in the second book, “Mounzz Of Autumn”, the people are scattered at four Stations and I am left coordinating story lines.

Although each Station is in its own area of the planet, the people are coordinating with each other. Each Station then has its own story line taking place inside the Station and links to the general story line of the Mission.

The secret to coordinating story lines as far as I can find is to adhere to a strict time line. I tend to start out doing a day by day chronicle for each different line.

I did some of the same things in “Dora’s Story“. The big difference is that those stories were separate incidents around a common character. Both the Planet Autumn series and “The Carduan Chronicles” interweave the stories.

In “The Carduan Chronicles” I am coordinating story lines between two ships that eventually meet up, or hope to. These two ships are in totally different locations as one is on the planet surface and the other is flying through space.

Carduan space ship setting for coordinating story lines
This floor plan of one Carduan space ship alters with the crates replaced by seats for passengers and shows how little area the group of 49 Carduans has and the limits on my plot for one ship.

In this book I worked each ship through a week at a time. This worked because the two ships were not in communication with each other. It was like writing two different books and melding them together. Once the two ships communicate, my tactics change.

In “Mounzz of Autumn” the four Stations are supposed to be contacting each other daily. As information is shared between the groups, the story in each Station progresses.

Once I finish this day by day alternating from Station to Station draft, I will isolate each Station story section. This will let me make sure the story line for the Station is not repeating itself, skipping events, messing up names and events and all the other plot problems that arise.

Another aspect of doing this separate analysis is adding more depth to the characters and setting. Changing the point of views to first person has made the lead characters much richer and more defined. Once the separate drafts are done, they will again be put together. Coordinating story lines is complicated, but doable, if adequate care is taken.