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  1. jessjess
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    jessjess New Member

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    Complete Lack of Ideas

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by jessjess, Apr 4, 2011.

    So when it comes to plot, I never have anything. I like (and consider myself kind of good at) character development, dialogue, relationships... these things came easily to me after I realized (at about age 12) that I had been creating Mary Sues, and that Mary Sues were bad.

    At around the same time, I realized that fantasy, sci-fi, and horror were difficult genres for me to pull off. Very difficult for me to pull off. And this was bad, because the only way I had learned to create a plot was with crutches in magic or lab experiments gone wrong or vampires.

    So now that I have limited myself to stories taking place in "the real world", I can't create plots to save my life. I can always get to the point where I've decided this story is going to essentially be a romantic adventure with a lot more comedy than drama, but then I have to ask myself what the actual conflict is, and I blank.

    It was easy to make a conflict when evil wizards abounded and constantly kidnapped unwitting younger brothers, but the "real world" equivalent (some non-magical person kidnapping unwitting younger brothers?) ventures too far into thriller/mystery territory, which doesn't interest me in the least.

    The point is that if I try to write fantasy, sci-fi, or horror, it comes out... well, bad. I'm not interested in thrillers or mysteries, and what I am interested in, which is equal parts adventure & romance, I don't know how to work with outside of fantasy & sci-fi.

    Essentially, I'm looking for literary examples of or advice on potential plots/conflicts for adventure stories outside of the fantasy & sci-fi genres. Help? Please?
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why not write an adventure story or a romance but use magic etc ?

    Although I write fantasy my stories have romance, action, adventure etc. First and foremost they are about the characters and not the fantasy I just use it to tell the story of the character.
     
  3. jessjess
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    jessjess New Member

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    I don't know. I'm pretty sure that's what I always do/did. I have the characters, the general plan of the romance, and a desire for some kind of adventure thrown in, and the last bit I accomplish by adding a fantasy/sci fi element. But I'm just not good at it.

    Maybe I should just let myself be bad and hope that eventually I get better at writing it.

    EDIT: Maybe the whole problem is that I'm throwing in fantasy/sci fi elements at the last minute as an easy way to create a plot.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is very hard to get fantasy right on the first draft - I think anyway. I rewrite my work several times to get the magic functioning in context. Until I have the first draft complete I don't always know how the fantasy will fit into the story properly. I personally find it easier to work out fantasy elements after the story is written or I use them to solve problems.

    The most important thing for me is to turn on my inner three year old and ask myself why, why, why and how, how, how with everything.
     
  5. jessjess
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    jessjess New Member

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    Mmk. I guess it's mostly just because I'm so afraid of cliches, because my characters tend to be teenagers, and then it's a romance-oriented story, and then it's a modern fantasy... Did I not just describe Twilight? This is where my anxiety comes from.
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first story is about a teenager - he has a girlfriend they even off camera have sex a few times and he gets her pregnant. (they are married due to events but ... ) A cliche can be good - even a Mary Sue is not automatically a bad character.

    My most used fantasy character is handsome and immortal - strong and brave. I have yet to have Socrates called a cliche but when I filled in the Mary Sue online questionairres he scored very highly as one.

    You are the only person that can write your stories and your characters. Cliches and Mary Sues are only bad if they are written badly.

    First drafts are not usually great - mine are awful and the characters a little flat.

    If you want to write romance and adventure then read some of them - I love the Hardy Boys, Cows in Action and Across the Nigtingale Floor. The God Box and Sprout are also really good as YA stories.

    If you want to write fantasy though it takes practice, but can be very rewarding. Reading history books, legends, politics, archaeology etc really helps.
     
  7. jessjess
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    jessjess New Member

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    Alright. Thanks for the help.

    I'm going to have a long think over my latest idea :/... and how fantasy/sci-fi might help or hurt it.

    Thanks again!
     
  8. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    You could try writing some non-fiction. There's got to be something you're knowledgable about that you could stretch your writing muscles out on until something else hits you.
     
  9. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I usually use a philosophical idea I'm thinking about as a plot, so that's pretty easy. But, since you like to make characters, then maybe you should create a story around a character. That's called a "character study" and such a story doesn't have to have a plot.

    Let's say you have Spuds the Vampire, well what is a day, month, or year in his life like? He probably doesn't just sit home and watch TV, so what does he do? If you are good at making characters, then a full book about him should be enjoyable.

    There's a SF author named Matthew Hughes and he has a character I could read about all day and a plot is unneeded.
     
  10. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I'm hallucinating!
     
  11. ProwerGirl
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    ProwerGirl Member

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    Sci-fi's a pretty hard genre to do. The one time I did it, it ended up more like a modern fantasy. But, like others said, practice writing those genres, and you might get better at them. And, in the meantime, add elements from those genres into a modern story and work hard not to make it cliche!
     
  12. mugen shiyo
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    mugen shiyo Contributing Member

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    draw from all experiences and pay attention to your surroundings. you can even look at pictures or articles in the newspaper or let your thoughts fly. think of something that interests you or really thrills you in real life and it is likely the same thing that would thrill many others- even if they aren't aware of it yet

    for me, the plot is easy, it's the general relationships of the characters along the way that is hard. romance and adventure...try this

    as an exchange student, the girl/woman is sent to east asia (india, nepal, somewhere exotic) to help grow relations with the womans country and less prominent countries. there she meets a boy she's interested inand who takes an interest with here.
    - this can be a comedy and the just basically goof of and the girl comes to question if she really wants to return while having to deal with culture shock and all
    - it could be danger where the place is caught up in civil strife, or the boy leads her on a trip into the wilderness where they get lost, but find each other in the process

    this is a little sad. one day a teenage boy comes to meet a girl who is beautiful and radiant. her smile shatters his worries. he doesn't know where she lives, but every evening, she comes to meet him and they go on these little adventures around their neighborhood. (country or city) but there's something inexplicable about her. something so very subtle. magical. and things happen. great, lively, and wondrous things and even the very small, and very profound. what the boy doesn't know is that the girl is really an angel that has come to eventually see him through to heaven as he is destined to die. In this time, a very strong bond is developed between the two, and as the time winds down, the drama escalates at your discretion

    i could think of others, but now i feel like i''m robbing myself :p
     

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