1. Zaphina
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    Zaphina Member

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    Do your plots ever take unexpected turns?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Zaphina, Apr 5, 2014.

    So, I've pretty much only just started writing my story, however I'm doing it a bit freestyle even though I know the gist of what's going into my first chapter.
    It just got me thinking, does anybody ever plan out a plot only for it to be quite different once you get to it. Examples please! No yes or no answers I want details :).
     
  2. Smoke Z
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    Smoke Z Active Member

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    Well, my fanfiction, Self-Insert-Authoress-Tripe, is simply a collection of moments that I write down while trying to keep the other characters in-character. I'm linearly writing a middle right now, and while I let minor inconsistencies sneak in, I had brought a nasty villain into the story and wanted him to survive. I didn't know that the hugely patient and forgiving character would speak up for him. I also was surprised that the villain relying on his manipulative nature would get him out. I thought I was going to have to beg to keep him.

    I'm also re-cooking another scene that I can only change because I didn't upload it. My SI is aware of the other side of the fourth wall, and can invoke deus ex machina from inside the story. However, she suffers nosebleeds and incapacitating weakness depending on how glaringly "fix everything" it is. My re-write had the situation be more urgent, and I found that having her pull one early in that arc really adds to the problem for later because she needs to recover before she can even move.
     
  3. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    My stories (beginning, middle, end) stick close to my original 'vision'; otherwise, I would get lost. However, scenes within the story do frequently wander in directions other than what I expected. In my first book, I actually wrote a chapter completely without thinking about it in advance. I just gave my characters something to do together, which allowed them to learn more about each other and hash out a few important details I otherwise had no idea how to insert.

    Endings may also change. First book: final scene was supposed to be my two MC's finally getting together and, uh, consummating their love interests. The actual final scene was one after they had been together for several months (the original 'final' scene became the second-to-last chapter). Current project: two MC's get together at the end. Revised version: they don't, which opens my MC up to a sequel!
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well in my case, I've learnt that plots sometimes just don't work. It's too complex and you simply can't see far enough to make sure everything fits. Rather than wondering what should happen next and what might be interesting, it's better to go from the character's POV and think of what should logically happen next, and not get too carried away by grand ideas lol.
     
  5. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't plan ahead, so my writing is full of unexpected turns - now, whether I follow the turn or not is another matter. Sometimes I do and sometimes I just peek around to see whether I like the look of it.
     
  6. desert rat
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    desert rat Member

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    Sometimes freestyle works but other times I like to complete a detailed plot outline, recognizing that it will likely change considerably. I am working on a long complex story now that I have spent more than a month on the plot alone, because it is complex with a lot of detail and so I want to be sure I am capturing the important things. For less complex pieces it is more of a general idea of where I start and where I want to end, and let the creative juices fill in the middle. Of course, the danger is putting all your effort into the plot and never actually doing the writing. It is a balancing act and I think each author (and likely each piece) requires their own approach.
     
  7. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've never had an entire plot go a different direction, but additional twists and turns may show up. For example, in my current WIP, a prostitute is paid to seduce and influence one of the main characters, Sir Percy. But as I wrote, I decided to have the serving girl, whom Sir Percy had been harassing, spy upon him and to accidentally observe the seduction attempt. It doesn't change the main story, but rather adds an additional character to the plot.
     
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  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I love it when one character or incident suddenly starts doing double-duty, effecting a transition I needed, or creating an unexpected link with another character or incident, or supplying a motivation I didn't originally know was there. Little bits start falling into place as I write, and characters start to make more 'sense' than they did when I originally envisioned them. That is so much fun. The characters become alive and easier to work with, and the result is more believable.
     
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  9. aikoaiko
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    aikoaiko Contributing Member

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    I agree with this. I think it's a good sign when this happens, because it means the story is taking on a life of its own. The characters come alive and begin to 'think' for themselves, if that makes sense. They begin to branch out as normal people might---with all the accompanying indecision:).

    It's also a sign (IMO) that your characters are gaining depth. Everyone plans a story differently, but one that exhibits no change from the time it was outlined to the last edit might not necessarily be carrying itself, or 'improving'. Even if the basic plot/structure is in place there is still room for maturity as you get to know your characters and express them with more accuracy.
     
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  10. Larissa Redeker
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    Larissa Redeker Active Member

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    My plots are wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff. :p

    Nah, I'm joking. They are linear... too much linear...
     
  11. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes! My stupid Nanowrite project took a strange twist. People turned into creatures - that was the plot mind you, but then
    one of the sexless creatures grew a penis! I was part - oh thanks a heap and - I didn't know you had that ability, what else can you do. lol. I then wrote that one of the creatures didn't approve of the change and forced him to turn the flesh into a scab and ... well you get the idea. It just keeps turning and twisting. I'm not a plotter but there's a movie in my mind of scenes that either get squeezed out or are upcoming or evolving. I roll with the punches.
     
  12. Madman
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    Madman Active Member

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    I can compare my plots to a whiskey drinking boat captain in a large sea, steering an oil tanker with unlimited fuel. I can hear him sing as he spins the helm round and round.

    No I don't hear voices. No I'm not in a white robe.
     
  13. Smoke Z
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    Smoke Z Active Member

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    Um, that seems very squick. I'm of a fandom that both has a lot of slash and opinions about lack of genitalia, but I'm glad that wasn't brought up explicitly except one of the creators shouting that they are not gay.

    Why did he grow a penis? Why was it wrong? Was it a human penis? What was wrong with his thingy if if was some bizarre manifestation.. ovipositor, for pleasure, return of two-for-babies?

    Sorry, that's probably just what you were yelling at your character.
     
  14. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    yes i have been known to take an unexpected plot turn including that clanger under the spoiler label. i call it a clanger, but it did allow me opportunity to write the second book, which im doing now, so really im actually grateful for it.

    I behead the king and council of the country right near the end of the book

    the second book does have a few turns, including one that has just taken over 1000 words to include, it pretty much could change the course of the story depending on what happens later on in the book
     
  15. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    Mine never do. When people read my work, they know what they are getting into.
     
  16. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I'm working on an old side-project right now where the MC unexpectedly changed sexes from female to male prompting me to rewrite nearly 60 pages of manuscript. :D
     
  17. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The short answer: yes.

    The long answer: if you looked at the first draft of our current WIP and the latest (something like the 20th) draft, you probably wouldn't recognize it as the same story save for the character and place names (some of which have also changed). When we first started writing it, we didn't even have a plot, we just knew we wanted to write a fairly realistic sci-fi piece set in space in the not-so-distant future and we wanted it to have a strong (physically and mentally) female main character.

    Now it has seven POV characters (though only three, including the aforementioned heroine, are main characters) and it has an actual plot, which has also gone through several different evolutions with different emphasis...es. Other changes include some characters dying that previously didn't and some characters surviving who previously didn't. And there are, of course, plenty of scenes we've added / cut out.

    The last unexpected turn happened just two days ago: previously two characters woke up in a strange place with all their own clothes and things with them, free to explore their surroundings. Now they wake up restrained to hospital beds, wearing only their underwear, all their possessions gone.
     
  18. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to echo @Bryan Romer here. Never had an entire plot turn out something completely different than I thought. Yes to little twists though, as long as it serves and enhances the overall story.
     
  19. Zaphina
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    Zaphina Member

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    General consensus appears to be yes which intrigues me, obviously we don't all have it sorted when we first start writing!
    Those of you that write the story without a plot, I'm interested - as to how? Do you have a brief idea of what you want the beginning/middle/end to be or do you just know the theme?
     
  20. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Theme? That shows up when the thing is done - which is also when I discover how it ends. I start out with a character and/or a "what if". Then stuff happens.

    I also edit/revise as I go, and, as mentioned above, I don't always follow those little turns and twists. I think about the writing as I'm writing, and make decisions based on what I've already written (because I really, really, really hate rewriting!). It really isn't that difficult if one just stops to consider the possible consequences of taking that turn. And I have a folder full of interesting turns I intend to take - but in another story.
     
  21. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I think it's because he admires a certain human so much he wants to become exactly him. Especially since in his present state, he's little more than a caged animal.
    I used this theme before in one of my short stories. I think I'm plagiarizing myself.
     
  22. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    @peachalulu thats not plagerising, thats putting an idea to better use, the main character of the stories in my sig was originally a minor character in the first novel i wrote about 4 years before this one.
     
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  23. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    That's a relief!
     
  24. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    @peachalulu well, because it was your idea in the first place, you can use it in whatever format you want...
     
  25. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, usually @KaTrian and I do have a basic plot in mind as well as a theme; most often our stories stem from us wanting to say something and the story is a good way to do that, but sometimes, as it was with our current WIP, we just have a very vague idea of the kind of story we'd like to do, we come up with the characters, and then we just basically set a starting scene and start writing and see where it takes us.

    Since it's two of us writing, it often veers towards improvisation even when we have planned it better because we feed off of each other's ideas and now and then those situations (especially scenes with more than one character) take some very unexpected turns. Usually we allow that and see where it goes. If, in the end, it turns out that tangent didn't work, we scrap it, go back, and write it again, following the original plan (or a different new idea).

    Even with our best planned stories, the writing process includes a lot of improv and making it up as we go along. And, of course, a ton of rewriting and editing 'cause we do weed out punctuation errors, typos etc. on the go, but the heavier editing (like working on scene structure, word choices etc) we do separately so they don't get in the way of the spurts of spontaneous creation. That last bit came out far more artsy and lame than it sounded in my head.
     

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