1. Annihilation
    Offline

    Annihilation Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2014
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona

    Coming up with deep plots for short stories

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Annihilation, Nov 25, 2014.

    Since I plan on writing a lot of short stories (20 to 30 pages) and someday publish them in a collection book, I'll need some deep thinking to do.

    I've been very fond of deep, meaningful stories similar to the story of the movie, memento or the movie, 12 monkeys.

    I know for a short story, ideas should be simple. But there's never any rule. I was thinking, give me examples of what YOU will call a deep story. Here's my example:

    A man is going through an existential crisis after his wife is killed by an unknown man with superhuman strengths. He meets a chemist while traveling for her funeral and the chemist gives him a drug "that will help" him.

    Anyways, he keeps theorizing who this man could be and in the end concludes that he's an addict and hallucinated ever having a wife.

    Whatever the chemist gave him, it made him realize this truth which makes him theorize who the chemist really is.

    How's that for deep?
     
  2. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I won't know until you write it.

    You've got this backwards, IMHO. You should write the story that's in you and see how long it turns out. Don't worry about whether it's a short story or a novel -- write it to completion, and however long it is is how long it is. (Within reason -- it's likely the first draft will be significantly longer than the final draft.)

    The story itself and the way you convey it is what's important. Not the length.
     
    peachalulu and Fitzroy Zeph like this.
  3. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,529
    Likes Received:
    1,353
    OK, we know your MC's grieving, but why would he take "a drug" off a stranger (how does he even know the guy's a chemist?)...?

    Sound no deeper than your average plot-hole.
     
  4. Annihilation
    Offline

    Annihilation Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2014
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    The chemist introduces himself first. That's what's so weird about him. Out of everyone, he comes up to this wide eyed man and seems to know him somehow (maybe foretelling) lol.
     
  5. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,529
    Likes Received:
    1,353
    So you believe this stranger who appears to know you, who comes up to you at your wife's funeral, when he tells you he's a chemist.

    Sounds more like a stalker to me.
     
  6. Fitzroy Zeph
    Offline

    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2013
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    269
    Location:
    Canada
    The type of story ending looks to be a Deus ex Machina.

    Deus ex machina (Latin: [ˈdeus eks ˈmaː.kʰi.naː]: /ˈdeɪ.əs ɛks ˈmɑːkiːnə/ or /ˈdiːəs ɛks ˈmækɨnə/;[1] plural: dei ex machina) is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object. Depending on how it is done, it can be intended to move the story forward when the writer has "painted himself into a corner" and sees no other way out, to surprise the audience, to bring the tale to a happy ending, or as a comedic device.
     
  7. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    That's not very deep at all. Sounds pretty Lovecraft to me.

    I'd call The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber by Hemingway a deep story, because it deals with a man's self-justification.
     
  8. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Chicagoliz is right. The way you write & treat the subject will decide whether or not something is deep. It's hard to say from the plot especially when it has a 'trick' ending. Trick endings and deep fiction usually don't mix.

    I don't know if I have any examples of depth - I've read a few Harlan Ellison stories that I found to be deeper than your average sci-fi. For me depth is achieved when the author is focused on being honest & fresh about his theme/idea/thought. It's never entirely spelled out in order to leave the reader thinking. The lack of depth ( keeping it more entertaining ) is when the author ignores the cues in his own writing ( I'm on several sites and I've watched a lot of writer's ignore possible metaphors for deeper themes - and interconnection - even though certain things the characters were doing were perfect set ups ) and keeps it on a lightweight entertaining surface. Theme/idea/thought is made so clear the reader feels everything has been spelled out for him so there is no need for further thought on the subject.
     
    Shadowfax likes this.
  9. Annihilation
    Offline

    Annihilation Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2014
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Lol, no this guy acts professional yet peculiar. And since the guy who lost his wife is in a bad and desperate state, he takes the drug because he's looking for answers.
     
  10. rycbar123
    Offline

    rycbar123 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2014
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    6
    If you like the story, why does it matter if it's "deep"? To be honest, the plot itself doesn't sound particularly deep, but the characterization and themes could make it more meaningful.
     
  11. PaulGresham
    Offline

    PaulGresham Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    UK
    Plot hole!
    Love it, first time I've heard it.
    As it pot holes, I take it.
     
  12. tonguetied
    Offline

    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 23, 2014
    Messages:
    548
    Likes Received:
    219
    Location:
    Near Atlanta
    I believe Shadowfax meant plot-hole, just a part of the story that really doesn't have an explanation, sort of a non-sequitur.
     
  13. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,984
    Likes Received:
    5,503
    Did you ever watch Twilight Zone, the original series? Those stories are all pretty fascinating and disconcerting--both onscreen, and the original short stories that they're based on.
     

Share This Page