Layering

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-13-2004
Layering
62
Mon, 06-13-2005 - 11:15am

Hi, all

I knew I’d be back one day with a question regarding plotting. Lynda, do you remember when I posted my question about ‘character goal’ and you said you’re best with plots? And I said that I’d probably be back with questions about that, too? Well I’m after your help now, and anyone else’s who can interpret my mess :-)

I wondering if I’m layering or if I’m writing more than one story! How can I tell? The issues being presented by different characters all fall on the shoulders of my main character. However , the supporting characters thus far don’t interact with one another. Although one of them is more aware of the others situation and does talk to my main character about them. Hmmm, was that as clear as mud?!?

Most of the time I think I’m layering but sometimes I’m worried I might be running down the wrong path.

Can you help me? What questions do I need to ask myself in order to see if I’m writing more than one story within the same novel?

Thanking you in advance. ;-)
Tasha

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-30-2004
In reply to: write101
Mon, 06-13-2005 - 11:35am
Actually, I'd like to have layering explained. What exactly is it?
Darlene
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2003
In reply to: write101
Mon, 06-13-2005 - 4:44pm

Let's see if I can muddy things up even more.


Your character has a main goal.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2003
In reply to: write101
Mon, 06-13-2005 - 6:49pm

I don't know what layering is exactly, but Lynda said my story was layered, so I will tell you what I did.

I did two things that I think apply to the question:

Thing 1 -

Each character had a role, some part of the story that could only be worked out through that character. It's kind of a backwards Jungian archetype kind of thing.

In order for each role to truly filled, each character had to breathe, to "live" within the confines of the story. So each character had to have their own history, their own feelings, their own ways of speech, of walking dressing, being. That means that they all had to have depth appropriate to the role they played. I THINK that appropriate depth is part of layering.

Thing 2 -

The story should have no unnecessary parts, details, characters - no unnecessary anything. Everything should act to move the story along. The problem becomes that as the author you need things to happen, to be in place, like a set for a play with all the right props in the right places.

But you don't want the props to just appear out of nowhere, the reader feels cheated. So what you do is introduce them in the story before they are needed, and you weave that introduction into the storyline so that it is remembered, but not noticed.

Now any careful reader will say, "she (the author) just hung that gun on the wall. I bet somebody is going to get shot by the 3rd act," but that's ok! Suspense has been introduced for the alert, and a certified surprise or twist is in place for the unwary.

In my SOV story I only have one thing appear from nowhere that is in immediate response to an issue, and that is an allergy to paper. I am fixing that in the rewrite. There will be a scene early in the book that will set the stage for the allergy and at the same time, solidify the stage for change underway. Two things at once. It has to be that way - at least two things at once - or it isn't layering. Otherwise, the writing can drift into tedium. The line between writing tedium and layering can be very, very, fine. LOL!

I think in really fine stories, the layering, the character depth, the characterizations themselves, the plot, all move as one coherent unit and the writing never does just one thing at a time, it always advances on several fronts.

Tasha, in your story, you had the father's line about the high ground, and that was layering. You moved the plot, you deepened at least two characters, and you hung a gun on the wall, all at the same time. That was a great line.

Jake

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
In reply to: write101
Mon, 06-13-2005 - 7:22pm

I am going to leave this one alone...lol.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2003
In reply to: write101
Mon, 06-13-2005 - 8:53pm


ROFLMBO


Have you been talking to my husband?


(There goes MY reputation!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2003
In reply to: write101
Mon, 06-13-2005 - 9:05pm

Well said, Jake!


Tasha:

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
In reply to: write101
Mon, 06-13-2005 - 9:06pm

Yes, but not lately...lol.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2003
In reply to: write101
Mon, 06-13-2005 - 9:21pm

Thank you for the compliments, but, honey, that's not what you wrote.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
In reply to: write101
Mon, 06-13-2005 - 9:32pm

Sorry, I truly am.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2003
In reply to: write101
Mon, 06-13-2005 - 9:53pm

Did the car door knock out your sense of humor?

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