7 Tips to Having a Reunion Plot in Your Story

The Seven Deadly Sins

This storyline might be fairly niche, but it’s caught my attention.  In fact, I think it’s turned up more often than I realize.  ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’ and ‘Red’ come to mind.  Both have a reunion plot where most of the characters already know each other.  They have a lengthy history and possibly some fame.  I’ve got a few tips for this, so let’s see what we have.

  1. The heroes don’t need a getting to know you stage.  This can take up a lot of time and patience, especially with a large group.  In a Reunion Story, they don’t have to be introduced to each other.  This connection can be used to introduce them at a faster pace to the audience too.  For example, I was able to show a lot more characters in War of Nytefall since they were already connected than in Legends of Windemere where they were meeting each other for the first time.
  2. With heroes already knowing each other, you will inevitably have some shared stories.  This can be interesting and make for amusing scenes, but there is a temptation to do it a lot.  Your mind can connect to stories that make your established heroes appear larger than life and you may try to top each one as you proceed.  This can overshadow the current story and make the audience wonder why they aren’t reading about the cooler adventures.  While every character can share parts of their past, you can’t have it take the spotlight.
  3. The heroes are established and aware of the world, so they won’t need a guide or mentor.  Of course, there will be some things they are in the dark about since they’re coming out of some form of retirement.  Maybe it’s a new city that appeared after they were traveling or a new creature that they never encountered.  These things will take center stage since the characters will not have to explore the areas that they already know or learn skills from the ground up.  You still have to introduce these things, but you don’t have to draw out an exploration.
  4. Power levels of heroes may be over the top at the beginning.  This is really hard to master with fantasy because magic is involved.  These heroes need to first appear as very powerful and intimidating since they are established.  If they’re legendary like the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ then they’re downright frightening at first.  This can cause a problem with making the audience question if they will succeed.  It’s tempting to keep them at this level too, but then there isn’t much threat.  All solutions are tricky from making insanely powerful villains to revealing limits that didn’t seem to appear at the beginning.  So, you have to be careful here.
  5. You don’t have to introduce all of the characters at once.  Since you can skip the ‘who are you?’ part, you can have the first one that you show go about gathering the others.  It can be a casual encounter or real hunt to figure out where everyone has disappeared to.  This also doesn’t mean everyone will agree.  A character may not want to get back on the road, which creates conflict within the established group.  (I’ll get to this in a second.)  The point is that you can speed up the arrivals, which gives you more time for other things.
  6. No harm in having one of the old heroes be the villain.  The reunion doesn’t have to include all former members.  Some could be angry about a slight that reveals why the team disbanded.  They could be corrupted by an evil force.  The point is that they don’t always have to return as heroes and friends.
  7. This is probably the BIGGEST TIP!  I saved it for last in the hopes that people will reach it and it wouldn’t get mixed in with the others.  YOU NEED AN OUTSIDER CHARACTER!  Okay, maybe not all the time, but you do need a vessel for the audience who are meeting these heroes for the first time.  In ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’ this would be Elizabeth Liones who set out to gather the Sins and is being introduced to them for the first time.  Her meeting them and learning about them is what allows us to do the same.  Otherwise, the established heroes meet and any revelations of their past or abilities may come off as forced.  If there is one new face then they’re more inclined to explain themselves.  Yes, this is an introduction, but it is a very limited and low key one that won’t waste as much time as a big, nobody knows each other thing.  Consider how much easier it is to meet a new person that a friend is introducing you to when compared to a blind date.  See?  Much easier and more relaxing.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
This entry was posted in Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to 7 Tips to Having a Reunion Plot in Your Story

  1. L. Marie says:

    Great tips! This is especially good advice for a long-running series.
    I can’t help thinking of back together again stories in the comic book world (like the Eternals; Justice League; Avengers) and heist movies, where they always get back together for one last job.

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    More great tips from Charles 👍

    Like

  3. Interesting stuff. It could use a noodle scene like I touched upon last week at Story Empire. You’d probably need a few tricks up your sleeve to keep things from being repetitive, but a reunion story could be great fun.

    Like

  4. Thank you for sharing your tips, Charles.

    Like

  5. I was thinking of the outsider character myself. The characters know each other, but the reader/viewer doesn’t.
    Also, I would say the explanation for why they retired is equally important. If they were so powerful and at the top of their game, why would they walk away?
    I think you could have some fun with their expectations colliding with a world that may have changed while they were away. They might not get the recognition they expect, and how will they handle that?

    Like

    • Guess a lot of that last part depends on the character’s personality and what they were doing since retirement. That ties into the reason for walking away as well. If they were driven out or don’t care about fame then lack of recognition wouldn’t effect them. I’d think the ones who are concerned with recognition would be the types that didn’t want to retire or leave the spotlight. That’s a pretty big question to answer.

      As far as being so powerful and at the top of their game, I keep thinking of Escanor from ‘Seven Deadly Sins’. He’s incredibly powerful and prideful. He walked away because the Sins were framed for trying to overthrow the kingdom, but one could say it’s strange that he didn’t try to do anything to get back. This is where his personality came into play and why I find him one of the most fascinating overpowered characters ever written. He is so prideful that he doesn’t seem to care about the fame and recognition. He doesn’t take offense to people not knowing who he is or challenging him because he’s prideful to the point of being amused. Kind of wish they’d do more with him.

      Like

  6. Great post, Charles. Having a number of books in a series, every new installment is a sort of reunion story. I have to balance the familiarity of the characters with just enough backstory for those that might be reading a book that is later in the series as a standalone. You have some great tips here. I’m going to share it on my blog as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to be of help. With my own series, I tone down the reintroductions as I get further into the story. Descriptors can become more spread out since people should have a general idea of the characters. This is because my books don’t always work that well as standalones. There’s enough to tell you about what already happened, but not enough to replace actually reading about the events.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out this great post from the Legends of Windemere blog with 7 Tips to Having a Reunion Plot in Your Story

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s