Branching stories set in the same world

#1
What are peoples thoughts on one book having a few characters from another book set in the same world? For example two characters in my fiction are about to meet two characters, one of which is from a well known noble family, from another fiction I'm baking. They're only going to meet in passing and the rest of the story will have nothing to do with each other, excluding world events (ex: a dragon destroying a castle or something of the sort)

Just thought I'd bring this up, is this a good idea? Is it good world-building for the stories on their own? It makes sense as to why they happen to be in the same spot at the same time so it won't require anyone to read one book to understand the other. Or is this an idea that should be left alone?

Thoughts and criticism are more than welcome.

Re: Branching stories in one world

#3

EnhancedBeing Wrote: Well, what do you want to do? Are you excited about the stories you can tell about these other characters? Do you think you want to invest the time in them? You could get a whole bunch of answers from people here but ultimately, you gotta do what you wanna do. 

Good luck!

Thank you for your kind words. Don't get me wrong, I was most likely going to do what I want to do which is the two stories connecting for a brief moment. But I really enjoy feedback on ideas from people who might end up reading my story and if this should be avoided or if it adds another layer of character to the story.
Edit: Don't get me wrong if it's seen as a negative thing I was going to avoid it.

Re: Branching stories in one world

#5
No, it's good to get feedback, absolutely. It can't harm to have views of others. From what I understood of what you were saying, I just didn't want you to not write a story you perhaps may have wanted to just because some people say not to. 

I personally don't see how it could be seen as negative, from what you were saying. If I understand correctly, in your main story you have 2 side characters who meet your MCs? And you want to make these side characters the MCs in their own story?  

It's kind of a lot like how spin off TV shows are created in real life. 

Re: Branching stories in one world

#6
Personally, I like it a lot. I've seen it done in a few anime and I always think it's neat. Like in Haikyuu, one of the teams they play has a player related to a character from the author's other work. Kouji Seo also ties in his works Suzuka, A Town Where You Live and Fuuka all together. The characters from Oreimo make a passing cameo in Eromanga Sensei as well. I think if you're a fan of an author's work, stuff like that is like a special treat.

Re: Branching stories in one world

#8
I don't see why not. I don't really have a preference one way or the other, but I know plenty of authors that have done this. There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind when doing this though. It doesn't matter that much if they're just going to be crossing paths in one area and they're not going to be spending time at the same locations or events, but it can get pretty confusing for you,the author, if they are visiting the same places and participating in the same things(like wars, competitions and the like). If they exist in the same time frame and are in the same areas then you have to make sure your information matches from story to story.

Re: Branching stories in one world

#9

Zearth Wrote: From experience, having a story where you have different viewpoints in different locations could easily become a cluster fuck, or the most interesting thing to date.



I, 100% agreed with this statement. I tried doing the multiple viewpoints in First-person and got confused about the story because the cast was so big(like 5 or 6 characters), but at the same time, I pretty enjoyed writing those characters. In the end, I pretty much stop writing because it was too confusing. 
DrakanLaugh

My advice, don't pile 4 or 5 different narrations in one single chapter, without stating who's narrating... readers might get confused and dropped the story.


Re: Branching stories in one world

#10
I’m really thankful for all the feedback. I’m keeping the new characters story separate from my main one and they’ll only share the same area for only 1 or 2 chapters and they’ll never see each other again. I just have to make the story lines up properly. Since it’ll be two separate fictions I won’t have any trouble with too many character point of views

Re: Branching stories in one world

#11
I think small(!) cameos/ random encounters are a good way to bring a bit of world-building color to a story and to bring a short moment of joy to the readers who also read the other story. But it should be clear that in each story, the group from the other story is just seen as other NPCs.

Some ideas, A and B are two different stories:
a) In story A, main character party A had a scene where they were chased by the king's guards. In story B, party B is walking along the road and they are passsed by a group of people (whose descriptions very similar to party A) and a few minutes later by the king's guards. -> Groups A and B have nothing to do with each other and never communicate and nothing changes in their respective storylines, but story B can show that not everything revolves about the MCs. This helps against the common problem in some stories where whenever the author describes anything (a person in the crowd, a feature of the scenery, an item), the experienced readers already know that this will play a role in the story later.

b) In story A, the high-level rogue MC A is meeting a contact in a run-down tavern while on another table a group of noobs is loudly celebrating their victory over the rat infestation; that contact gives him information about how to steal the crown jewels, which he does the next day. In story B, after having completed their first quest of eradicating a rat infestation, the main character party B is celebrating; while doing so, they notice a shifty guy sit down in a dark corner at the table of a mysterious hooded fellow; two days later when they want to leave the city, the guards at the gate search and question everybody because the crown jewels have been stolen. -> Story A has a more interesting tavern scene (instead of "At every table people were drinking", the author can add a few sentences about noob 1 loundly bragging about how he kicked that one rat out of the air in the middle of its jump, then MC A can be reminded about his early, innocent days fighting rats instead of dragons). Story B has a more interesting tavern scene and a short gate scene instead of boring "they packed their stuff and left the town". It does not change the storylines but makes both a bit more interesting.

c) Similar to b, but while leaving, MC A tells the rogue from party B that they should wear their dagger sheath "more like this, so you can draw the dagger easier during a grapple". Story A scene: "He drank the last of his ale and left. While passing the group, he noticed that the skinny guy was wearing his dagger in the classic noob style that looked edgy but was totally impractical. He hesitated, then turn to him. 'you should wear your dagger ...'. His good deed done for the day, he was through the door a moment later, while the noob stuttered 'wha-, er, ...' " Story B scene: "While John was sipping from his third beer, he noticed the mysterious stranger get up and walk to the door. Wow, those fluid motions, this was clearly a pro. As he was passing their table, the stranger hesitated, then turned and looked John directly in the eyes. Gulp. 'You should wear your dagger...'. Before John could thank him, the door fell shut behind him. Since this was clearly a pro, John heeded the advice even though it felt strange to wear the dagger like that." Scene from story B 20 chapter later: "The unknown assailant had him by the throat and he was starting to see stars. John panicked. While his fists were weakly clawing against what was clearly plate mail, he felt his forearm touch the pommel of his dagger. The dagger! John drew it and managed to slip it into the weak spot in the enemy's armpit. The grasp around his throat lessened. While gasping for air, he silently thanked that nameless stranger who had given him that advice long ago." -> In addition to a bit of fluff in both stories, there is now a small change in the storyline that adds a connection between two chapters of story B.

d) Same minor side characters: Party A returns to the adventurers' guild to turn in a quest. At the counter they meet the same clerk as always, because that one is a recurring character who is either a comic relief, a very helpful professional, or an annoying person (e.g. like in "This Quest is Bullshit"). Party B arrives in a new town, goes to the adventurers' guild, asks about quests. The clerk is ... the same. -> Why should you have to make up yet another new person? You can recycle their personality or even their dialogue including the bad jokes. The readers will recognize the clerk and go "yay, it's Michael McClerk again, I wonder if he will be as incompetent/helpful/rude as in (other story)

And, last but not least, you can have characters from A and B work together.
e) Party B finds out about a threat that is too strong for them, they report to the higher-ups, then party B has to lead the strong party A to the danger. They can swap stories on the way, people from A can give pointers to people from B while they camp, then group B can watch how a high-level group works together to defeat a very big danger. -> In story A, this would start with "Guild leader asks the party to defeat a dangerous threat, a group of low-level NPC will show them where to find it". In story B this would show that while the party has already made progress, they are still weak in comparison to others. Jaws drop.

f) In story A, party A needs somebody with a special skillset. They hire a specialist for it, even though it takes a while to find one and they do some other things until he is found. In story B, the MC has a special skillset. While short on coin, he looks at the quest board. One high-paying quest has apparently been posted there for a while because it is very difficult, but with the MC's unusual powers it's easy.