Happy Monday, everyone!
If you haven't already heard about The Wild Grass and my giveaway for a Literary Lab Critique (and you want to), go here. Also, there's a news story about pink dolphins like the ones on the cover of my book here.
I'm a lover of epic stories and often try to create epics of my own by setting up multiple storylines with multiple characters and conflicts. In the beginning of these stories, I usually don't encounter any problems as I jump from one scene to the next, slowly developing each subplot. But, nearer to the end--like where I am now with my current WIP, Cyberlama--the different storylines have a way of suddenly hitting their climaxes at the same time, or at least close enough to each other where one tends to mute another and vice versa.
I try to downplay one in order to make another one shine, but, honestly, I've never been able to figure out exactly how to accomplish this with any sort of grace or self-satisfaction.
One solution I see is to simply have each subplot reach its climax at different times in the story. Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer does this, but I found myself being a bit bored near the end of the book because some of the storylines had already played themselves out (at least in my mind). When I think about how Tolstoy handled it in Anna Karenina, I think instead of having each storyline reach a climax, he basically just stuck to one, that of the title character, making it outshine the others.
Does some sacrifice have to be made?
Maybe I'm just being greedy when I try to have all of my subplots build up to climaxes at the end. I want to have it all. But maybe the end result of such greed is just a tacky book that's dressed for too many parties on the same night. I don't know.
Do you think a book can trample on itself in an attempt to have too many conflicting conflicts? Have you dealt with this before, and, if so, what was your solution?