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It seems like a lot of novels now seem to keep a lot of plots going at the same time.  So you have to jump all around.  That is common for authors after they have been writing for a while.

I actually prefer novels with one or two plots going, rather than half a dozen.

So do you like novels with lots of plots or simple ones with only one or two plots?
 

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I read books similar to the ones I write... I try to have one "thread" woven throughout the book for each major character... in the end, I can only juggle, at most, three threads within one major plot machine. Otherwise, my poor little brain gets muttled and I implode.

And that just gets messy. :)
 

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I generally prefer the simpler structures: one main plot line, one main protagonist, not a lot of plot and/or viewpoint switching. Certainly I can enjoy the big epics with multiple plot lines and main characters; but they need to be carefully crafted to avoid character confusion and plot overload before I start getting angry with the author for jerking me around his/her world -- usually just as I'm really getting into one of the plot lines.

Coincidentally, I've decided to try to concentrate on avoiding the big, complex novel this summer: "Summer of Shorts." :)
 

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If reading fast-paced novels, I like multiple weaving plots, but I think it cruel of authors to leave any more than ten chapters between revisiting a story thread, e.g. when they introduce a random character's tale and then we don't hear from them again for another 200 pages. :p

I also enjoy slower paced novels with more introspection and little journey, if done well.
 

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I'll happily do complex and simple plots. James Ellroy is a classic example of a writer who juggles multiple plot lines, and I love his work. Crime writers, especially those who use third person narration, seem to like more complex plots. But there's something to be said for a novel that keeps things simple too. Depends what mood I'm in, really.

--- edited... no self-promotion outside the Book Bazaar forum. please read our Forum Decorum thread.
 

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I enjoy both, depending on my mood. Sometimes I'm interested in reading a tightly focused narrative (e.g. The Road by Cormac McCarthy -- a "simple" plot in structure, but a devastating plot in so many other ways [and I realize there are threads discussing this book's merits...I'm one of the ones who loved it]). And sometimes I'm in the mood for books with various plots and threads, especially those told in multiple first-person viewpoints (e.g. Jodi Picoult, Chris Bohjalian). I also appreciate a good book that plays with time (e.g. The Time Traveler's Wife is masterful from a craft perspective, methinks).
 

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I think it depends on my mood. Sometimes I just want to read a good story, not one that is very complex.  Sometimes, however, I greatly enjoy a large number of characters and plots and then seeing how they all come together in the end.
 

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I like complex plots, especially if they intertwine. My biggest favourite is Robert Jordan - I know it can get wordy at times, but I love his characters and the associated plots/subplots.
 

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Ugh, I was going to use Jordan as a classic example of plots gone awry :)

I like a meaty layered book as much as the next guy but when a doorstopper book goes by and there are several characters who did little more than brush their hair and cook breakfast there is something wrong! George R.R. Martin is a good example of plot jumping, IMHO, as he often has the resolution of a previous POV referenced by the next one. Steve Erikson borders on overload as the plotlines may never converge and many serve only to mention something that will get picked up 2 books down the road or just to inject some levity into the tome. It works because he has a way with words, but damned if it doesn't get overwhelming.

I think this type of book rewards those who re-read it and progress slowly, as unlike a movie, knowing the conclusion doesn't really "spoil" the build-up.

Single POV hard charging books are great fun but I find they wear quickly, so I prefer them to be relatively short.
 

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Franklin Eddy said:
So do you like novels with lots of plots or simple ones with only one or two plots?
For a full length novel (but not a tome, like Robert Jordan's books) I like one main plot and two or three subplots. In the case of enormous books like Jordan's that are part of a series, I'm fine with the million plot threads he included. My only problem is remembering them all. :p
 

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Dara England said:
For a full length novel (but not a tome, like Robert Jordan's books) I like one main plot and two or three subplots. In the case of enormous books like Jordan's that are part of a series, I'm fine with the million plot threads he included. My only problem is remembering them all. :p
Seriously. I joked with a friend once that I needed to take notes while reading his books. Don't get me wrong, I've read them all and enjoyed most of them (let's just forget a few of those ones in the middle, shall we?), but boy is there way too much plot there. I like depth, but if I need a reference guide it's probably a wee bit too much. I hope I'm not the only one who keeps encyclopedia-wot.org open when I'm reading those? :p
 

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Coral said:
I hope I'm not the only one who keeps encyclopedia-wot.org open when I'm reading those? :p
I do the same thing. Those books have just gotten out of control and now there's talk of it going beyond the final book. Sanderson is considering writing outriggers that expand the series to include stories we weren't privy to. This is just never going to end.
 

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I love a book with a complicated story line and whole cast of different characters that start off unconnected to each other and their narrative gradually weave together in unexpected ways.

But that's just me  ;D
 

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davidhburton said:
I like complex plots, especially if they intertwine. My biggest favourite is Robert Jordan - I know it can get wordy at times, but I love his characters and the associated plots/subplots.
I'll buy that for the first 4, maybe 5 books. Then it just got long and complex for the sake of length and complexity, and I lost interest after book 6 or 7, as most of the characters' plots devolved into petty squabbles and such. :( (Your mileage may vary, of course. ;) )
 

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I enjoy multiple plot-lines when it's done well, and when the author is able to tie them all together nicely at the end.

One of my favorite writers, Carl Hiaasen, does it masterfully.
 

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NogDog said:
I'll buy that for the first 4, maybe 5 books. Then it just got long and complex for the sake of length and complexity, and I lost interest after book 6 or 7, as most of the characters' plots devolved into petty squabbles and such. :( (Your mileage may vary, of course. ;) )
For what it's worth the newer ones are much better! :)
 

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I think books that can use a few simple plots in a way that hasn't been overdone is what really captures my attention. With multiple plot-lines it's far easier for me to lose interest, especially when the plot is spread over multiple books with months in between each release.
 

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I like simple plots. One or two in a book does it for me. It's not that I get confused by complex plots; I have no trouble following them. I just care more about character than plot, and I feel like when the author tries to fit in six or seven or plot lines, the reader is often not given the best opportunity to get to know the characters. I know there are exceptions to this, obviously, but it takes a really good author to get me to care about their characters AND their six or seven plots.

ilyria_moon said:
... I think it cruel of authors to leave any more than ten chapters between revisiting a story thread, e.g. when they introduce a random character's tale and then we don't hear from them again for another 200 pages. :p
Agreed!
 
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