Keeping Stories From Getting Too Complex

The question put forth this week: How do you keep your story from being too complex?

And I think– you’re asking me, the person with four interlocking series running concurrently?  You think I know how to keep things too complex?

Well, in a real way, the multi-series tactic is my way of keeping things from getting too complex.  Rather than one, enormous sprawling story of epic epicness and a cast of a dozen protagonists, I have four relatively contained, discrete storylines in individual books.  That helps me keep my head clear of the different threads, and hopefully keeps readers from getting to bogged in the weeds, either.


(Though one of my beta readers had a “who is this guy again?” moment with a key secondary character in the draft of A Parliament of Bodiesso that was a good note to reclarify his introduction…)

But I am writing something deeply complex, and it’s crucial I keep it all straight.  That’s why spreadsheets, timelines (let’s hear it for Aeon Timeline!), outlines and other organizational tools are so crucial to me.  Part of the point is making that work seem invisible to the reader, so they just jump on the roller coaster and go.

Hopefully, that’s what I’m doing.  Now back to it.