1. MarchOfMephisto
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    MarchOfMephisto Member

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    Coming Up With Plots

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by MarchOfMephisto, Dec 7, 2008.

    How do you all come up with plots?

    I come up with mine when I read the newspaper or watch TV, I see something (not necessarily a story, maybe a phrase or something) and it just develops.
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Usually they just come to me. I keep a pen and notebook with me at most times, in case something interesting strikes me. Often I'm inspired when watching the news, too. And I used to be in history class, as well.
     
  3. Where Lunatics Prosper
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    Where Lunatics Prosper New Member

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    Hmm...actually, I'm really not sure how I come up with half the things I do. :eek: I suppose the media does play a part - sometimes the most macabre, eccentric stories that emerge from television, printed media or the Internet can provide some semblance of plots. As utterly cliche as it sounds, I suppose my greatest influence comes from everything I've ever seen, heard, done, read, watched or played. All writers should read fervently and you're forgiven for 'borrowing' ideas and concepts from other sources and mangling them beyond recognition for your own purposes (Philip Pullman admits it and you should too). Also, another great influence would be world history, and the timeless "What if...?".

    It's all good. :cool:
     
  4. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    Plots aren't normally what come first for me - either a character or an image or a scrap of dialogue will pop in to my head and the plots will start to accumulate as I think about them. How the characters or images or scraps of dialogue arrive I'm not too sure; it'll often be inspired by external sources but other times I can only blame pixies. Little writing pixies, creeping into my room at night, crawling into my ear and swapping a little bit of sanity for another half-formed scraplet. One day I'll catch one of the little scamps...
     
  5. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I can't go looking for plots else they'll never turn into stories I can write. For this reason I find plot generators and such to be useless, because how can I apply those to my existing characters and storylines? (I write in several fixed storylines and cannot just come up with completely new, unrelated stories.)

    Since I write series, the ideas for the next story in the series often spring out of or build off of what came before. I'm always gestating ideas for the next story while writing the current one.

    With shorter stories, as someone else mentioned, the ideas just come to me. They sit in my head long enough to develop into a decent story idea, then I write them. I almost never remember the exact moment or place when I came up with a story idea since I let them gestate for so long, though once in a while something in particular will spark a story idea. (I recall reading something about Greg Louganis being attacked by his boyfriend once, and that turned into an idea for a story.)

    Also, reading about the subjects I'm interested in (and also write about myself) can generate ideas.
     
  6. Ommonite
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    Ommonite Senior Member

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    For me it tend to come up with what I want to see/read for myself. If i want to write a book with a dragon in space, I'll think of the plot and how/why the dragon is in space.

    Sometimes It'll just dawn on me in bed, the shower, anywhere. Simply thinking about what concepts I want to have will give them reason to take shape sooner or alter.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I come up with storylines, not plots, mostly by thinking "what if..." when reading a story, watching a movie or TV show, or even seeing a science article or reading a textbook.

    Plots are more deliberate. A plot is constructed from an actor, a goal, and an obstacle. I usually already have a storyline in mind, which provides some goals and suggest others. I already have some characters as well, so I come up with a conflict or obstacle that will oppose the character's attainment of the goal. Conflicts also suggest other characters, so the process is iterative.
     
  8. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    It depends, really: The book I just read, the TV show I just watched, the video game I just played, the movie I just watched, the genre I want to write about, the topics I plan to focus on, etc.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    from anywhere/everywhere... from my own experiences in life and from others' i've heard about one way or another... from reading, movies, tv, news media, traveling, et al., in addition to my own conscious imagination and sometimes even from dreams...
     
  10. Zcreative
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    Zcreative Contributing Member

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    I am inspired by just doing something I like. Whatever that may be, usually I could get inspired. But recently we were learning about Ancient Egyptian Religion and the Book of the Dead. I decided to write a short story based on that :p.

    Z
     
  11. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Pixies whisper them to me.
     
  12. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Plots literally just pop into my head. Sometimes life experiences or other works of fiction inspire them. But usually, I think too hard and then I have a plot. :)
     
  13. JaM1221
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    JaM1221 Member

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    I'm in eighth grade and just today I was learning about the Black Plague in history class. I asked myself "What if-the Black Plague reoccurred in modern times." (I usually write fantasy, SciFi and horror.) Then I thought the same plague couldn't destroy a civilization like ours. But, a stronger and more uncontrollable disease could. It's always a threat. Further into the class, my teacher said that some people, though surround by others that were sick, didn't suffer the same fate. They were somehow immune and no one knows why today. That just added to my ideas. I usually get ideas from past history and nonfiction. I watch the History Channel and little parts of plots come to me. After getting bits of info I surround it with other ideas and work off of it. Whether it be a character, setting, event, or dialog, I just fit it all together.
     
  14. Asuran
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    Asuran Member

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    I find that when I am looking for a plot, I will often turn to a "What if?" Usually, when I try this, either my answer is not worth writing about (not good) or my answer is completely unlike the question (very good).

    Honestly though, most of my ideas are taken from surrounding myself in the genre. I don't decide to write sci-fi. I watch the science channel and it goes from there.
     
  15. ZionsRodeVos
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    ZionsRodeVos New Member

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    For me, I usually develop a character and then a story starts coming to me after that. My plots have often been weak and they generally come to me after I've started writing the story and then I end up rewriting the story.

    One short story I wrote over 10 years ago and wanted to develop it into a novel. I rewrote the story at least 2 or 3 times. Finally, a few months ago, a plot came to me. And now I am rewriting the story again with the new plot guiding me as I write.

    It is rare for me to come up with a plot before I have a character in mind.
     
  16. mobious109
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    mobious109 Member

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    I just get all kinds of random ideas and try my best to piece them together. If something doesn't fit I don't use it. It sounds messy but it works for me. Trying to pull characters, scenes, and all the stuff in between together is a lot of fun for me. Somewhere in there a plot comes out lol.
     
  17. theutopian12342
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    theutopian12342 New Member

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    I have a team of dwarf journalists who go around the word in search of interesting material, which I then steal. Or they just come to me. Like I thought up a science fiction short story when our garbage truck came up the street and looked like a space ship. "Garbage Men," a short sci-fi story about the tradegy that unfolds upon three spacers who routinely empty garbage in space.
     
  18. MarchOfMephisto
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    MarchOfMephisto Member

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    There's a lot of interesting methods of creating plots, isn't there? :)
     
  19. ArchAngel
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    ArchAngel New Member

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    For the most part, i'll just be sitting talking to a friend or listening to one of my teachers when they'll say something that just sort of sparks in my mind.

    Other times, i'll either actually ask a friend for an idea and, in the process of that, i'll talk about some things i've already considered. Usually when i ask them, they don't actually help, just me discussing it leads to new ideas.
     
  20. Flame Blade
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    Flame Blade Member

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    I get ideas from history or just bored randomness...Sometimes I'll get ideas from other books and movies, but random ideas that fit into the plot or for the characters come from any where...I'm working on one series where the ideas come together from completely different things...
     
  21. Hetroclite
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    Hetroclite Member

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    1) My best ideas are from dreams. I keep a notebook & pen at my bedside.

    2) I found a list of story ideas by HP Lovecraft, called Commonplace Book in his book Miscellaneous Writings. (I'd like to post it on this site but don't know which forum.)

    3) But mostly I"m just re-writing other works. I'm constantly reading many short stories & watching a lot of TV programs & thinking "I would have done that differently."
     
  22. Jack
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    Jack Contributing Member

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    1. Discovering something new. (TV, Radio, Freinds)

    2. Dreams is also a good one

    3. Sometimes, I randomly come up with my own, without even thinking of anything in particular.

    4. Other sources (books, magazines, websites, forums (Like this one :) )

    5. Reality (What I see around me, environment issues, wars around the world, polititics, old stories from relatives, etc)
     
  23. ArckAngel
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    ArckAngel Member

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    Well this might sound weird.
    Sometimes when i have no ideas, I just sit and write. It doesn't matter what, I just do it. It turns out terrible. But then something in that terrible story will call to me. A concept that I didn't see when i was writing it, or I'll see a bad concept and change it into a good one. So i suppose I inspire myself...does that sound like I'm full of myself? 0_o
     
  24. greatestescaper
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    greatestescaper New Member

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    I have trouble writing full stories, but usually ideas for me form by creating a character. Then I question myself and ask: what story would this character fit into?
     
  25. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    2) I found a list of story ideas by HP Lovecraft, called Commonplace Book in his book Miscellaneous Writings. (I'd like to post it on this site but don't know which forum.)

    if it's from a book by someone else, it's copyrighted material, so unless it's passed into public domain by now, you can't post it here without permission from the copyright owner...
     

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