Too many/ multiple plots?
(New Jersey, USA)
Question: My plot outline (or synopsis, not sure which) is this:
A college student nabs a spot on a prestigious touring production company's roster, but only as an understudy for a side character. While here she gains friends and enemies, knowledgeable insight into the entertainment industry and the vibe around it, and falls in love with the main actor of the show. Things are going normal until it seems the production itself has become haunted, mishaps happening almost daily. Is it really haunted, or is the show trying to be sabotaged? Will the girl get her guy, and hit it big in showbiz, her lifelong goal?
Now as I was making all the outlines and characters and using your website (which has helped tremendously in growing my idea and flushing it out) I realized I might have too many plots. I definitely want to keep the love plot because I initially wanted this to be romance oriented anyway (it's my favorite genre), but for meat, I definitely want to keep the main character's growth from wanting to be famous for unhealthy reasons to, with the help of the impact character (and love interest) she doesn't want to pursue it anymore (making it a comi-tragedy right?, well, in that particular plot in this story anyway.) That is the main plot.
As for the plot about the production being sabotaged, should I keep it? I love having stories with different things going on because sometimes I like following certain developments, like the love plot, or only the mystery plot, or etc. Also I like following all things at once. So should I keep all 3 plots,
or leave out that one which isn't AS important as the other 2 main ones, but I put it there for ENTERTAINMENT value only. Answer:
Of course, I can't tell you what to do. That's up to you.
However, I don't think you have too many plots. In fact, dramatica theory would argue you may need to think about four throughlines.
Generally, in romance stories, love is not the main plot. Usually, there is an overall story which provides a vehicle for the two lovers to be put together. In this case, that would be the mystery of who is sabotaging the production. That is the first throughline.
Second throughline is the main characters's inner struggle. In this case, it is only a Comi-tragedy if she achieves the story goal but in doing so is left in a worse situation personally. If she solves the mystery and consequently winds up happier than before, that would be a happy ending. Sometimes characters start out with an idea of what they think would satisfy them, but by the end realize that their real satisfaction lies elsewhere.
Then there is the impact character throughline. In romance, the impact character is generally the love interest who presents a different approach to life, problems, etc. than the main character, so that she must decide at the crisis whether to adopt his approach in order to achieve the goal.
Finally, there is the story of their relationship, as distinct from their individual throughlines. In romance, this often follows a pattern of initial dislike followed by growing attraction, a relationship crisis, and finally a reconciliation and declaration of love.
Hope that helps.