fantasy with two plots....

by Eliese sago
(montana)

Hello I'm starting to write a fantasy trilogy book about a young girl who is from a small town down south. She is from a broken home and wants to get out. She imagines a magical world above the earth the clouds. My question is I have two plots, I want to start the first few chapters with her life on earth. The next few chapters will skip to the world of Nimbus as she is imagining it. As I write on it will go pretty much back and fourth. I would like a great beginning to my first paragraph I want to catch the readers eye but problem is I have two plots how do I do that. Do I start with her life and write what she went through or do I start with the world of Nimbus and go from there. Please help thanks.


Question: I can't give you a definitive answer, naturally. You have to figure out what will engage the reader in that first chapter.

My suspicion is that you may find it works better to get the reader involved in the main character's problems in the real world. I say this because...

1. It sounds like she imagines the cloud world in response to her problems in the real world, so it may make sense to put the cause before the effect--to show us her problems, let us develop empathy for her, and then plunge her into the cloud world. When a story begins in the other world, rather than the real world, it's usually because some event occurs in the other world that causes the plot to spill into the real world where it affects the heroine. When the jump between the worlds happens because of the heroine's problems in the real world, it may make sense to show real world first.

2. There's a common archetype of storytelling where a character starts in the real world and then embarks on a journey to somewhere exotic, gets in trouble, and then escapes back home again. You find this in monomyth (or Hero's Journey) stories. It's also been called "Voyage and Return."

Of course, the difference is that your story sounds like the type where two plotlines in separate worlds run in parallel, with the main character jumping back and forth between the two.

(Presumably the choice the heroine makes in the cloud world and the lesson she learns as a result help her make the right choice in the real world? Or perhaps your two plotlines merge at some point?)

At any rate, you may have to simply write the beginning of both plotlines and see which arrangement works better. But my money is on the real world.

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