I was reasoning with a friend about why movies/novels often get highly successful while other, despite having an interesting story/topic, dont get much attention. We came to speak about Matrix, Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys.
My reasoning is, those stories became über-successful as they basically offer different parallel storylines to every human, not only a single interesting perspective/topic needing specific background knowledge.
For example, Matrix covers several fields:
- different love stories (morpheus-niobe, neo-trinity,...)
- technological aspects (nerdy view)
- philosophy behind the story (Am i living in a simulation, where will technological progress lead us)
- religious aspects (Neo is seen as a god)
So from nerd over grandpa to a child, everybody can connect to a sub-storyline. Besides those points, of course the overall story has to be interesting, end unclear, it has to make critics think...
So bearing this in mind, if you want to write a script/book being able to connect to every audience and not only e.g. sci-fi fans besides incomplete fields above, what would be the common denominator, the structure to develop such a story without ending in a mixed grey hodgepodge? Have you tips/rules how to balance/weight different storylines (is a red thread necessary between chapters), storylines that must exist like the often mandatory love relation of characters, storylines that draw away alot attention and you should minimize as far as possible, without missing it. Should you start with a sub-storyline offering a common denominator to all kinds of audience? Do todays critics expect a minimum diversity of sub-storylines in a novel/script. How did successful multi-stories (no pure sci-fi/romantic novel) deal with this problem? E.g., do they focus on the harder to understand storylines in one/following chapters while breaking up the love storyline in small distributed bits?