Is my plot too complicated / bad?

by O.N.

I'm writing a novel that mostly falls within the chick lit category (however, it's probably not typical one plotwise but it is more about the witty, humorous style and funny incidents).

I'm wondering if my plot is too complicated, especially for that genre.

The protagonist is a young workaholic woman who has some issues about believing she's not worthy love, trying to get acceptance by achievements etc. She'd like to find the perfect guy but her priorities are all wrong. Otherwise, she's pretty content with her life. In the beginning, she's casually dating some guys.

In the first quarter of the story, she accidentally meets her ex-boyfriend through work, and while they work together the old feelings start to arise again. Their romance is going on from the second quarter to the end of third quarter. She's happy although the man is obviously all wrong for her - he broke her heart once before.

At her work, she gets to know one client on a more personal level. They end up being friends. The client is unhappily married. He is not a type of a man she would normally fall for. Their friendship gets deeper during the story, and by the end of the third quarter he is getting divorced and she has been dumped. They have fallen in love with each other but are both in denial about the situation.

In the last quarter, the protagonist faces that she is losing her job and her relationship has failed. Basically, she has made too many mistakes and not listened to the others (and herself). The relationship with her client is quite complicated because the situation (he being her client, still married, etc.) The ending is about the protagonist realizing she needs to prioritize her life again in order to figure out what she wants. She kind of figures
out she wanted the wrong things in the first place but now she finally knows what she really wants and is forced to get a fresh start. I'd say the ending is most like a tragicomedy.

I'm worried that this plot might be too complex. I'm also worried that it is too uncommon for its genre - however, I wouldn't like to change the light-hearted, witty and humorous style. Thank you for your time!

Answer: Based on the brief outline above, your plot is not too complex (though I realize you've left a lot out).

I should point out that what you seem to have at the moment is similar to a typical romance plot. Usually, a black moment occurs in act 3, in which it appears that the woman and her love interest are separated and the relationship is broken (before it miraculously heals in the final act). It's fine that you have given your main character a choice between two relationships, both of which seem lost in the third part.

However, if you have a black moment in act 3, that is usually the setup for a reversal in the fourth act, in which the main character finds true love.

If you want her to end up alone, but happy, then you may want to provide a white moment in act 3.

In other words, her romantic relationship should peak in act 3 before falling apart in act 4.

The main character can have her personal crisis in act 3, in which she realizes that she needs to change. Perhaps the new direction she decides to moves in then causes her love life to fall apart in act 4.

This is the kind of story in which someone gets everything they've ever wanted, only to realize they don't want it, so they give it up.

Hope that helps.

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