Hi @GetSchwifty, I do have some experience with multiple storyforms in a single (long) novel. My experience is a little different though because I only discovered the substories after they were already present (they just appeared on their own!). Given that, you might take what I say with a grain of salt – I struggled with this post because my process is different. Hopefully it can be of some help.
Mine was also three storyforms – the main story and two substories. I noticed the first substory about halfway through writing the first draft, when a hug happened that felt super-important and I was like “whoa! that’s an RS” and then I could see the MC, IC and OS perspectives for the substory too. The other substory was almost concluded when I noticed it, about 3/4 through the draft (its conclusion is part of the main story’s 4th driver act turn).
My general advice would be a “hands off” approach where you don’t try to force anything in the substories, just let them emerge. When I noticed them I didn’t try to find the storyform or anything; I figured if they were emerging on their own it might cause more harm than good to over-analyse. Jim confirmed this approach when I asked him during a Writer’s Room (I think one of the early ones, August of 2018 maybe).
That said, you can definitely take what you know – especially the throughline Domains and Concerns – and keep those perspectives in your head as you write / outline. This is at the level of understanding your story better in your head.
I would avoid trying to illustrate all your story points or plot out every PSR beat of every substory. I think this would be too complicated and mess you up. Plus, it might make your novel longer than you want it to be. So instead of asking “what do I leave out?” you are sort of just focusing on your main story and bringing in stuff from the substories whenever it feels right to do so. That is, you bring in substories whenever you want, you just don’t need to feel compelled to do so.
Since you already have storyforms for the substories, you might want to keep notes on ideas for illustrations, stuff that pops into your head or that you notice, without forcing yourself to illustrate every last thing.
###Making the substories matter
I think the most crucial thing you can do with substories is to tie them really strongly to the main story in some way. I think you’re aware of this already… In your other thread about sub-plots vs. sub-stories, your diagram had “substory brings needed element into main story OS”, and this can be SUPER satisfying storytelling.
For example, say you have an OS Solution element of Hinder, and your illustration involves putting something in someone’s way. And it’s super cool, but kind of far-fetched that it would work – like, why doesn’t the badguy just go around? But your substory brings in the Accurate element (via its OS Solution), which fulfils a main story OS Requirement, and that takes care of the far-fetched-ness. So now the audience gets a feeling like “wow that plan seemed so impossible, but the way [substory protagonist] paid so dearly to get such an [Accurate] [Requirement] for [Hindering] really made it work!”
There can be other connections too, of course beyond main story Requirement. Prerequisites or Preconditions would work similarly. And I’m sure you can connect to any main story throughline, not just OS. This would have a very different feel.
One caveat here is that these connections happened with both of my substories, without any conscious attempt to put them there. So if nothing obvious presents itself, you may want to just write and see what emerges on its own – or what you can nudge into place once you’re further into your draft.
###Bring out the big guns when you need them!
My advice here is kind of an about-face from all the “let it emerge on its own” stuff I’ve been saying above. The idea is basically that, do use Dramatica when you need it – when you have a strong instinct that a substory illustration will help you, use it!
This leads me to my best experience ever using Dramatica. I was well into writing the denouement, like page 996 of 1000, and I got to this part that really felt like the substory RS Solution. But I was having trouble getting this one bit of dialogue right. I got a strong feeling that knowing the substory storyform would help, but I had purposely stayed away from storyforming (in order to let substory emerge on its own).
However, several scenes earlier I had noticed that the substory MC really seemed to change from Non-Accurate to Accurate. So I plugged that and a few other things in that I was pretty sure of, and the only options for RS Solution were Trust and Effect.
Trust could have worked, logically, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Meanwhile, Effect gave me a tingle up my spine even though a lot of the gists weren’t right. Finally I got to some that felt in the ballpark like “focusing on the end product” and “aftereffects”, and then BOOM, “having an effect on someone”. That was it, these two girls who were like nails on a chalkboard together, and had no reason to be together except that one of them had decided out of the blue (instigated) that they should be sisters, eventually mattered to each other like family does.
And the proof was, that sentiment made the dialogue and the scene totally work. It’s still one of my favourite parts of the draft:
Spoiler if you're an alpha/beta reader; otherwise click to read
Tell the little weirdo she would’ve made a great sister. I know I wasn’t always very nice to her… But being family isn’t always about being nice. It’s about how much you matter to each other. So just … tell her she mattered to me, okay? And not just because she saved the world, although she did that too.