I was reasoning with a friend about why movies/novels often get highly successful while others, despite having an interesting story/topic, don't 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 a lot 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 today's 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?