1. johann77
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    johann77 Member

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    Building plot

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by johann77, Dec 20, 2012.

    Do you create a plot and then create a story or do you create a story and create the plot later. I can never come up with aplot at first. But I do get ideas in general of things to write about for a story.
     
  2. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I am rather confused with this question, as 'story' means a series of events in chronological order, whilst 'plot' can be shuffled and changed to the author's liking to suit the novel's emotional impact. What do you mean by this question? :)
     
  3. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    I would think that the plot always comes first when making something new.
     
  4. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    That depends if it has a plot. Not all stories do. Other times a plot develops once you send your characters on their way in a story. Things happen, possibilities open up and a plot develops.

    To the OP: a cop-out answer, but it depends on the writer's method of creation. Different writers will have different ways of planning and preparing a story. I find my plot as I go, and usually have a good idea on where it will end once I hit halfway.
     
  5. Sam M
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    Sam M Member

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    I find that a plot is the bones of a novel, and the story is what is laid over the plot to make it worth reading. In that case, a plot would come first to give direction to your story. It's easier to find a story for a basic whodunit, that it is for a plot for an orphan teenage girl finding her way in the world.

    But, then again, most flashes of inspiration are story concepts, which makes it all very difficult.
     
  6. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    As a very wise woman told me before when I tried to complicate things: Why don't you just tell a story?

    The plot will come from the story. Just sit down and tell the story. You'll be surprised at how it goes.
     
  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have only a very vague notion of what will happen in my story. I develop my characters and I see where they take me.
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I start with characters. I put them into situations, and the plots develop from there.

    Re: difference between plot and story. I follow E.M. Forster's idea of this. A story is a sequence of events, whereas a plot is a sequence of events connected by cause-and-effect relationships. "The king died and then the queen died" is a story. "The king died and then the queen died of grief" is a plot.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    every story has some semblance of a 'plot'... and a plot is an integral part of a story... so you seem confused about what these words mean...

    you may be meaning to ask about a 'plot premise' or 'story concept' vs a full-fledged plot or storyline... that would be the basic idea you will build your plot/story around... such as: 'a retired cop finds himself drawn to a lady pickpocket'

    i don't see how anyone can start writing a 'story' without having some idea of what it's going to be about...
     
  10. Hambone
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    Hambone Member

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    I agree. Some may have a plot for one story he/she is writing, but for a different story a cool character has been created, and the writer wants to go from there.

    Yes, just write!!!
     
  11. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not really sure what the difference is between "plot" and "story" - for me, they are the same. If you have a story, then you must know how the story goes and unfolds, which is where the "plot" comes in, right?

    Well I'm in the process of developing a second novel - I've got a character and some brief character history, a couple of scenes in my head and a few potential snippets of dialogue, and I'm still trying to come up with the story - answer all the questions of "And what happens when XYZ happens?" or "What happened to MC's mother?" or "Who is she?" etc.

    I dunno, I've never followed a formula - I tend to just..... er, think. Whatever helps you with writing and developing a story is fine.
     
  12. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I start with an idea ( here one of my old stories ) - survivors on a life boat
    I ask myself how did they get there? - boat sinks
    why? - someone set off a bomb, for salvage rights
    aha - I have a bit of a plot but it's not fully understood.
    So the characters come in - I make some of them ethnic, set the time during a lot of
    bombings - after 911 or perhaps during the war or perhaps
    during the 70's during all the hijackings, stir up some paranoia,
    divert the readers attention. I have the makings of conflict. I give the characters
    goals outside of just being rescued like finding the culprit, debating
    whether they have the right to execute justice and
    suddenly the plot fills itself in. Ironically, I never
    finished the story but six months ago ran into
    a book in the library that was quite similiar to
    the idea. lol. But it was quite different from
    what I would've done.
     
  13. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I've got the basic idea of my plot, like others used for example. From there the story becomes biological and goes from there...although a major section of the story has come to me today, so it'll be interesting to see where it goes from there.
     
  14. johann77
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    johann77 Member

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    I remember one day I came up with a plot. I didn't have one protagonist, instead had three. Instead of creating seperate antagonists, I decided to have the protagonists be the antagonists to each other. But instead of the protasgonists being intentional antagonists , they would be unintentional antagonists to each other. and they all wind up winners at the end.

    I have no idea of what kind of story to put that in.

    I have a great plot here, but can't do anything with it.
     
  15. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I found I had four genetically created warriors, who are all sisters, for my MC's. The advantage I found from the siblings issue is the humor that comes when they decided to rag on each other about various things.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you don't have a plot, though you may have the beginning of a 'premise'... which is why you don't have a story...
     
  17. jesseabigail
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    jesseabigail Member

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    If you have a great plot, then you will have everything to do with it. When we write, we become God. Daydream. I daydream and it brings me endless ideas for my premises.
     
  18. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Now that you've got the premise, it's time to let the tree grow around it. That sometimes can be the hardest thing to do, but is also one of the most rewarding about writing.

    “There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway
     
  19. Daniel Cassidy
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    Daniel Cassidy Member

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    I like to start with a great scene that I can see vividly in my imagination and then ask myself "how did my characters get here?" and "where will they go from there?".

    Then I form a loose plot in my head and fill it in as I go.
     
  20. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    I start with a question. What would happen if........? Then answer the question and the story emerges from the answer.

    For me a plot is the reason why the character(s) do the things they do, its their motive. And the story is the journey in which they take to achieve their desires - whatever they are.

    Personally I start with the plot - what the characters wants to achieve. In the novel I am writing, my MC wants to belong (she wants to be part of the group, to be like everyone else--she doesn't know this at first though but as the story progresses she discovers its her one true desire.
     
  21. TheDoctor97
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    TheDoctor97 Member

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    I start with a seed. It comes out of nowhere; most often when I'm in the middle of working on another book. I'll write that down, and keep going on from where I left off. When I come back, I look at it in more depth.

    Normally, it's not a plot idea, nor a character idea. Generally my seeds come from setting ideas. Interesting mixes of genres, and the like. I'll create a world out of that, and see where conflict could come from. Ideas for characters normally come next, however; who would fit best in that kind of world? What different career paths are there? What kind of character do I think would be interesting to write? Then, once I have characters and setting, they will eventually make connections. And then, from there, I come up with a plot.

    So a plot does not always come first. It really depends on the writer, and what their style is.
     

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