1. Snowmantheory
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    Snowmantheory Senior Member

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    Creating a Plot

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Snowmantheory, Jul 14, 2012.

    I love to create characters, I easily whip up a batch of interesting characters. I can create decent back stories and all, I start writing a plot, the plot is awful, I whip up another batch I characters. Any ideas? I enjoy writing horror, action, and adding in some mystery; I try to make everything unpredictable an plan to kill off the main character.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    First off, don't crack your noodle trying to obscure the ending. Predictability isn't the greatest thing, nut it's not the worst thing either. As long as there are two or more ways the story could logically end up, you are in decent shape. Of course, only one outcome will fit all the salient clues, but that is something you can tweak during editing/revision.

    Concentrate on developing a solid plot network. See What is Plot Creation and Development?
     
  3. MeganHeld
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    MeganHeld Senior Member

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    Seems like the characters and backstories are very important to you. Try to think of a way to get them all together in a way through an event, or just over life. You have all the concepts down, you just need to work on the plot. I agree with Cogito, very good advice about the endings and that is a helpful link he has sent you. I always leave my ending till last because I want to see how the plot goes. Just work on thinking of a couple-few main climatic points and see what one calls to you. All trial and error till you find one you really want to write.
     
  4. Snowmantheory
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    Snowmantheory Senior Member

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    Thank you all very much! This community is great, it's been tough juggling characters and not knowing what to do with them.
     
  5. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    What do you mean by awful?

    Maybe it is a problem with pacing. If you are writing a horror/action novel, than you might want something exciting to happen every 10-15 pages. The writing in between is a setup for the highlight of the chapter. If you want to study this technique I would read 'The Judas Strain' by James Rollins. He breaks this idea down to an ABC formula. Like clock work, the end of every chapter has the main character in some kind of car chase, or jet-ski chase, or helicopter chase, or a shootout. I wish the plot line had more complexity so it wasn't so predictable, but its a good lesson on pacing.
     
  6. Vanlande
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    Vanlande Member

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    What has usually worked for me is starting from the most simple, boring type of plot and then changing it up to make it interesting. Look at the classics, what you like, then gradually start putting your own spin on each aspect as you come to it. And when you get to the end, well, the others have covered that pretty well. Just my two cents.
     
  7. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    There are two things that run hand-in-hand in a story. The first is a character arc and the second is the plot arc. You can try to do each separately in a story or use one to drive the other. Take your characters, you say their interesting and have good back stories. What do you think would happen to make the struggle, to fight against external or internal forces that will allow them to grow?

    Now take a deep breath and ask yourself those questions. When you know the answer, you'll have events mapped out that can be linked together to make a plot. Drop me a line, would like to know more about the characters.

    Don't stress yourself out. The plot doesn't have to have the M. Night Shamalan twist at the end, in fact, that became so expected that it ruined his last couple movies. You can have you plot work out, and like Cognito said, have the possibility of a bad outcome happening. I've got one coming that probably won't be seen due to my MC's abilities, but what does happen just makes her more human then before.
     
  8. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    This is something I've been pondering on as well, because my plot arcs seem to shrivel up, and die.. So, I analyzed where I was going wrong.. The truth of it all is that I would let an intial spark of an idea fuel a story, without giving the ending, or direction rather, any thought. Eventually, I'd write myself into a wall, or the climax/ending would seem too duex es machina...

    Recently, I've started with the ending first. I create a goal. I envision the scene, and the possible scenarios leading up to that scene. Given the routes, what forces act on my character in each one.. Sometimes I'll write all of them, or I'll choose the one that seems more relatable. Lastly, I'll figure out where I want my character in the beginning, in terms of characterization. Where is he at in the end? Okay, so, now that I know what he transforms into, what's the most plausable jumping off point, given the routes to the end, to start him off in?

    Now, when I've gone through that, before I even put a word to page, I've showed up prepared.. I have a goal, and now it's a matter of filling in the blanks, and since I have the end, I know when my story strays off track, and if the plot is out of order, or if a scene is in the wrong place.
     
  9. Morkonan
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    Morkonan Senior Member

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    You know, you might just suck as a plotter. But, that's fine. Many authors are "non-plotters." What you need to do is focus on habits that non-plotters develop and stop worrying about laying out a plotline before jumping into your story. (I'm halfway between the two, but enjoy the free-writing non-plotter style the most.)

    Most writers have some idea of where they are going and where they are eventually going to end up. But, most also have unexpected additions, scenes and story elements that end up working themselves into the book, no matter if they are a plotter or non-plotter. Here's what you should do:

    1) Craft your wonderful characters.
    2) Decide what sort of things you would like them to get involved with.
    3) Plop them down in the middle of a setting and see what happens.

    In other words, gather a couple of characters, or even just one, give them a setting, start off a scene and have some sort of idea what sort of things you'd like them to encounter. Then, start writing.

    Plotters generally tend to have less trouble with revisions,for obvious reasons, than non-plotters. But, non-plotters have just as much of a chance of writing a truly entertaining, and sometimes inspiring, piece of work as plotters. It's all about what type of writer you feel that you are. I think you're likely not a "plotter." That doesn't mean you can't end up writing tons of index cards worth of scenes and story elements with a huge fishbone chart on your wall, full of plot directions. But, it does mean it's likely not going to be as easy for you to become a plotter if you're more of a non-plotter type of writer.

    Get your character, put them in a room, give them a spooky door to stare and then just let things happen... See how it feels for you.
     
  10. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Just about any plot sounds dumb and a bit cliche when shortened to a simple form because the plot is made good in the telling. It's the way you go about telling the story and the characters that make a cliche plot something intriguing.
     
  11. Samo
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    Samo Member

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    Reheating leftovers?

    This baffles me.

    I love stories. Why would I waste my time reading something that put such little effort into storytelling?

    If others have 'covered [something] pretty well', you won't be adding anything, I'm afraid.

    When deciding how a scene should play out, the first thing I think of is often a cliché - something that is not fresh, something that has been done before. So I think about how it should happen over and over and over again. Even then I'm not up to scratch.

    To me story (referred to roughly in these parts as 'plot network') is paramount. The rest - description, technique, voice - while very important, can be equated to a director's vision of a writer's screenplay.


    Another point to make is that character = story

    It is their choices that we are interested in. When we make the protagonist choose in a highly pressured situation we reveal his or her true character. Otherwise, he or she is a caricature - a simple set of characteristics. 'Show don't tell' is an axiom that digs deeper than you'd realise at first glance.

    Please show us your characters then we will see your vision of what humanity is.
     
  12. Snowmantheory
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    Snowmantheory Senior Member

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    Alright, I'll whip up a batch of characters tonight. I can't thank you all enough for your suggestions, I'm inspired.
     

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