1. MustWrite
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    MustWrite Member

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    Complicated fantasy plot taking over, help!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by MustWrite, May 4, 2013.

    I am about twenty chapters into my first large-scale fantasy. I am not too good at the work-it-all-out-beforehand plotting, although I have the basic story set out in my head. I know a lot of important scenes that will play out later on, I just have to get the characters to that place at that time.. hmm.

    The problem is I think of ideas for the middle or the end of the book before I'm finished writing the early parts, and although I only have two secondary plot-lines I find I am getting really confused. How can character B be in city x when he was already sent to town Y? etc. Etc..

    Is my main problem that I need to write an overview of everything? I have tried to do a little synopsis but it feels like I'm taking time out to write about what I should just be writing about, if you know what I mean?

    Maybe I just come across as a novice trying to write something that is beyond me..
     
  2. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    Everyone plots differently. Some people make it up as they go and others have a clear cut plan in their head at the very start.

    As for keeping continuity it can help to write a little outline to help you keep things from getting too tangled. I wouldn't go super detailed on it. Just a bare bones frame. Think of it like looking at google maps but zoomed out really far. You don't need every little detail you just need the gist of it to keep you on track. Some people will probably say outlines are bad or superfluous. I think it just depends on how you write and what's easiest for you.

    Also not everyone writes in order. I don't always write in order myself and it works out just fine. I go back and fill in the gaps later when I know how I want things go down. I usually do not leave large gaps. So I can't speak for people who do. I usually go back once I figure out the conclusion of an arch and write in the journey to that point. Sometimes knowing the destination makes the road to get there more clear.

    Sometimes putting it down for a bit and then coming back to it can help clear your head.

    Like I said everyone is different and you have to do what works for you.
     
  3. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    And sometimes you have to finish the whole thing before you can really see the plot. And then go back and revise and delete... yeah, been there. If writing synopsises frustrates you, don't. Just write your story and see where it takes you. You can always go back and change stuff if new ideas pop in mind.
     
  4. Suffering-is-Beauty
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    Suffering-is-Beauty Member

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    I'm a head planner, and i do leave large gaps in my writing. if my mc needs to be somewhere i write it into my story and move one. later i might go back to the chapter i skipped and figure out how he got there. It dosn't have to be perfect right off the bat, and it dosn't all have to make sense. that's why you edit it a hundred times. just write what you want to happen and leave the fact that he's in two places at once for the revision.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Overview or not, your post says you aren't keeping track well.

    If location is the main issue, draw out a map and get something like buttons, chips, game pieces, or post-its to be the characters and move them on the map as you put them in the story. You could also have a couple maps for different timelines in the story, just quick drawings on different pages in a notebook. Then flip to the matching timeframe and see where your characters are.
     
  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Are you sure you're not just getting over-excited over cool ideas and you're just throwing everything into a pot and hope it makes something delicious? You might want to review what the goal of the story/your characters is and ask if each event actually serves that purpose. And if the event is absolutely essential but there's no way of getting character A to that place, perhaps you need to ask yourself if you have enough characters, that, or whether you need to change some events around?
     
  7. MustWrite
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    MustWrite Member

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    Ok, that may be part of the problem, Mckk. If I am just throwing too many ideas into the mix because they all seem brilliant how do I decide which ones are worth keeping?

    I have managed before with my chaotic Idea-leads-to-an-idea way of writing but this story is getting so big I need to stick to the important conflicts..
     
  8. Eric242
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    Eric242 Member

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    You could try turning it into a timeline/flowchart type diagram. Like this crazyness from xkcd:
    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/movie_narrative_charts_large.png

    It may be intimidating, but it should help you find the gaps/plot holes.
     
  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, what is the big picture? What's the story? You keep the ones that serve your story, so only you can answer that question really. For example, why would I have Bob blow up this massive building if it has no significance whatsoever to the story or characters? Ah, perhaps he's blowing it up because it's the headquarters of the bad guys! But wait, there're no headquarters and the story is about Bob's romance with Sarah! Well, perhaps then it's an event you need to drop lol.

    And if you don't want to ditch the cool ideas and you're not much of a planner, then you need to start linking the events you're coming up with together as you go.
     
  10. popsprocket
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    All I can say is don't get bogged down in the scenes that sparked the story idea. Sure, they're cool or epic or emotional, but don't let them dictate your plot. If it turns out that you can't use them as you imagined then you simply need to be realistic about putting them on the back burner as 'maybe' ideas.

    You'll only hurt your story if you try and contort it to fit your original idea of how it would look.
     
  11. MustWrite
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    MustWrite Member

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    Thank you everyone for your great replies, they really have helped me get my mind around it.
     
  12. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    pull it into separate threads and work on each... i need to do that with my fantasy story, its got much the same
     
  13. TLK
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    TLK Active Member

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    With my fantasy story, I was having pretty much the same problem. So, I decided to sit myself down and make myself write out a summary of what is going to happen in each of the six novels in the planned series (I like to have a clear idea). Remarkably, I just managed to spawn this stuff off the top of my head.

    Now, this is almost certainly not going to be in the final version - mine has already changed, but it does give you direction, even if you have to change it.

    Also, though it does largely depend on the actual story, I find there are a few things you can use that can easily move people around. They're sort of like "cheat" ideas, so try not to use them too often. Things like, the city they're in gets attacked and they're forced to flee or your MC has a dream that he should go to this place etc, etc.
     

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