1. Holo
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    Holo Senior Member

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    Connecting the dots of a plot

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Holo, Apr 27, 2012.

    So in most stories the protagonist starts off in one situation and by some turns of events, gets caught up in the main plot. They either accidentally fall through a portal into a parallel world, get framed for a crime they didn't commit, get assigned to solve a murder case, etc. Somehow they are given a slight push into the overarching plot and the spotlight. I'm struggling with that push.

    On the setting for the story:It's set in an alternative present where magic and werewolves exist during the rebuilding period of a semi-apocalyptic war between humans and druids. Humans have gathered in large city-states because the druids made the forest a hostile environment that spreads like a virus and only the ruling class of magicians' magic can keep it at bay.

    My protagonist is a 19 year old werewolf who works for a circus with other werewolves and humans and is also a thief. She lost her family in the attack that ended with her being turned into a werewolf and was taken into custody. Since laws prevent werewolves from being adopted by humans she was going to be sent to an institution for orphaned werewolf children but the ringmaster of the circus, who heard about the incident, decided to step in and take her in. So she travels from city to city with the circus performing as an acrobat and will use her wolf form to jump through hoops of fire and stuff like that. When they settle in a town, she and various other members will pickpocket townspeople during the day and perform at night.

    My antagonist is a noble magician woman who is one of the elite. She is in charge of the city that the circus is stationed at in the beginning of the story. What she wants is to tame the forest by killing the last of the druids so she can make the world safe for humans again.

    A band of mercenaries ends up working alongside Kai throughout the story as the other main characters.

    So the protagonist's beginning circumstances are that she is a circus girl. Somehow she ends up getting involved in the main plot and working alongside these werewolf mercenaries. But I can't for the life of me figure out how they'd be introduced or how they become involved with each other. I just need to toss some ideas around to get that push that will jump start the story. Any ideas?

    (As a side note, the humans are aware of the werewolves' existence. Though there are oppressive rules and regulations to keep the humans safe and the werewolves suppressed, a lot of humans find werewolves fascinating, hence a popular traveling circus that includes werewolves. They also have things like werewolf dueling. Basically, most werewolves have sold themselves out as entertainment. In reality, they were meant to protect the forests while the druids tended to it but they all lost sight of their true purpose a really long time ago.)
     
  2. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    She is young and a thief without any major purpose in life, she will be an ideal candidate if the mercenaries want to recruit much like the present recruit of poverty hit young boys in many war torn countries. I won't be surprise if she has some friends who have contacts with the mercenaries.

    On another note, I am not sure of the aim/goals of the mercenaries/werewolves in the main plot because the main plot seems like a straightforward enmity between the humans and the druids. Who are the werewolves fighting against?
     
  3. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    You lost me at 'werewolf.'

    From what you've printed, the fact that he's a werewolf actually is irrelevant. The story could read just the same on any group that society has rejected/feared and is defiantly on the run. In fact, they could be traveling con artists, which actually exist and got a vignette on "60 Minutes."

    As for druids, again, why bother. They could be from the BATF.

    My issue is that many of these stories begin with a guy sitting down in front of a computer and saying to himself, "I like werewolves and sorcery, how can I meld that into a story?"

    The better track would be, "Let me create a good story, and let me develop characters in the tale."

    Sooner or later we're going to see an arc that begins, "Well, this werewolf eats a sick elf, and being incapacitated, falls prey to a vampire. The local town doctor now has to save the comatose vampire, who accidently gets the poisonous blood on himself and the blood borne pathogens make him a zombie.."

    Most times I think the author should be the one to eat the sick elf and save us all.
     
  4. aimeekath
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    aimeekath Senior Member

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    I'm not sure.

    As the character is a thief AND a werewolf she's technically a sort of social outcast. Perhaps she could be implicated in some kind of crime? If you don't want her to come across overtly as a bad person, she could have been used as a kind of scapegoat for something?

    The antagonist could also try to use her in her plans to rid the world of druids, with some kind of promise that she doesn't actually keep. Like someone said above me, it's not clear what loyalties and views your character has on the whole war, and which side she is actually on, but if you could figure that out it could help a lot.

    Sorry if I wasn't much help.
     
  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Reading your descriptions, a few things don't make sense:

    Druids are normally human priests of an old religion found in the British Isles. When you say "humans and the druids" you imply that druids are not human. What are they then?
    A child is given to a circus rather than the orphanage? Why? Is that not a form of child labour or even slavery?
    Who is Kai? Who are the mercenaries fighting?

    In any case, I think if you make the beginning details more logical and consistent, you might find your source of motivation/ situation that pushes your MC in the right direction.
     
  6. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    And that's my problem. There's an old saying that, "If you buy the bit, you buy the punchline." That's where this stuff fails for me.

    You're asking to the reader to buy the fact that carnivals are run by werewolves who hunt down druids utilizing magic. Costumes designed by Lady Gaga...

    I think I could craft a more logical theme using our current nation's financial crisis as a backdrop. However, melding Marvel's Dr. Strange into the apartment of "Being Human" who now work at a carnie is a bit weird even for Harry Potter fans who now have nothing to read.

    I think you have to tie the plot down to something in reality to relate a tale. Even Darth Vader wore a helmet reminiscent of nazi gear. Luke was a bumbling apprentice. Han Solo represented disenfranchised rogues like me. In effect, all they did was add spaceships. There are supposedly only five main drama plots in Greek theater, so even Star Wars had some understandable themes. This does not.
     
  7. Holo
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    Holo Senior Member

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    Yeah, I'm realizing that the plot is convoluted. I think the problem is that I'm trying to write an urban fantasy and epic fantasy. The druids and sorcery kind of came from this idea of having this more epic tale where a lot was at stake. But I was talking to a friend and they said that stories can be just as intriguing and captivating when the story is not epic and the whole world is not at stake.
    And I know some people just hate werewolves, but that's what I want to write about. The protagonist was the first thing that I developed and I always knew she'd be a werewolf because her coming to terms with that is part of her character arc.
    My problem is that I don't want to include vampires because I feel it is a bit too overused. I see a lot of vampire stories with werewolves, but not a lot of stand alone werewolf stories with female protagonists that aren't about romance.
    So I'm going to scrap the druids and the magic for now. But I need some help brainstorming the plot. Where do you usually start when you the character and setting before the plot?
     
  8. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    Well, you start with 'what is the point of this?' Is it to show her acceptance, coming to term with being a werewolf? IS it something more?
     
  9. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    I can't see how this would work because the mercenaries are oppressed by both sides, so, unless they emerge as a third force in the story, the MC is going nowhere by supporting them. From what you said, they'd be more likely to side with the humans, but even then, considering their status, they'd just play second fiddle to them, which completely kills the point of the werewolf protagonist.

    The protagonist has to have a reason to act and push the story forward. This reason needn't exist right from the beginning, but you should be quick to introduce another character or at least a plot device that will prompt the MC to move in a certain direction. Also, there has to be a reason why the MC is a werewolf. "Just because you like it" doesn't count; his powers as a werewolf should be used as plot devices when you need them, otherwise you could just replace them with other creatures. Furthermore, bear in mind the myth's limitations. Werewolves are supposed to be extremely powerful, but at a cost: they are considered a danger to humans because they lose their sanity and become savage upon their transformation. Werewolves being used as circus pets don't seem very powerful to me and actually sound like they aren't very useful as combatants.

    If you still want to go with werewolves, also consider that, under daylight, werewolves are no different from regular humans, so if the humans want to control them, they should use a system to label them, like the Nazis did with the Jews in concentration camps.

    Nothing wrong with spinning the werewolf concept differently, though. I've already seen a world in a game in which humans, centaurs, mages (separate from humans!) and robots fought each other. Bear in mind that it was a game without any kind of sensible plot, however. :D
     

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