1. Jim224
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    Jim224 New Member

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    Does a fantasy setting need a massive plot?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Jim224, Jun 26, 2013.

    I am building my own fantasy world, and the thing is, there is not much fantasy. I want the world to be similar to ours; similar climate, species, physics, etc., but the geography is obviously laid out differently. I want the story to be as realistic as possible, being able to explain every "magical" thing that might happen, and focus strongly on the characters and their conflicts.

    The thing is, I have what I think is a pretty good plot, but eventually it seems to trail off into simply the conflict of one central protagonist and becomes a coming-of-age story about him.

    Is this enough? Does the fantasy world need a huge, all-encompassing, world-ending conflict in order to be compelling?
     
  2. jennym123
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    jennym123 Member

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    Honestly? No.
    Most of the more famous works involve something like that but it's possible to have the setting be a back drop to your story. Diana Wynn Jones was a great example. Some of her books had massive conflicts but smaller books like Charmed Life was a small story with a character driven plot.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    My story is more about the characters and story than the setting. I don't see a problem. But I'm confused about what you are asking. Are you worried about the setting, or the fact the ending isn't some spectacular thing?

    I'd suggest writing it and seeing if the character's internal conflict doesn't grow as you go.
     
  4. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    No. This is often the case, but it doesn't.
     
  5. Baseloaf
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    Baseloaf New Member

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    I prefer stories based on situations rather than plots. Huge plots tend to make the story stale, like a machine where all the parts have to fit together or it won´t work. If you instead put the characters into different situation and "see" how they handle them, then the story might get much more interesting, both to the writer and the reader. Stephen King goes much by this method, and rpobably lots of others, but his name was the one that popped into my mind. :)
     
  6. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    I don't think plot in itself is all that important, nor are characters or setting. It's the combination of the three, to create conflict, that makes an interesting read. So is a massive plot required? No. Besides I think you will find yourself ending up with a lot more plot than you plan to begin with. A simple conflict between two characters can call for a large amount of backstory and subplot.

    Basically, I don't think you would need to worry about scale, because the moment you do you might end up forcing a certain level of complexity on the story that it might not need. If you can make characters, setting and plot fit nicely together to create som good conflict, then you are fine, you shouldn't worry in advance about the scope of any of these three elements.
     
  7. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    If you write compelling and interesting characters that develop throughout your story then it doesn't matter if the conflict is world-changing or self-changing because your audience will care about your character's journey.

    There are a few threads that deal with similar questions so it might help to search through the archives and have a look at some of the other discussions.
     
  8. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Fantasy stories always need a backdrop, and possibly a really large one.. I am not saying all fantasy storied need some large massive backstory but it helps filter out the plot, setting and characters and make them feel like they are a part of something.
     
  9. Orihalcon
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    Orihalcon Active Member

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    It can actually be quite simple. Create your setting, and create a couple or handful of characters that are connected either directly or indirectly to each other. Sit back and think about various situations where they would interact. See if you can naturally form a chain of events that will lead some or all of the characters down a certain path, and decide if that makes a good plot.

    For example, you say that you have a pretty good plot, but that it trails off to centering around the conflict of a single protagonist. Is there any detail you can tweak in the conflict to fit in another character? Is there any point in the story where a certain direction is chosen? If so, you could consider what conflict can arise from choosing a different path? For instance, if there's a point in the story where your protagonist fails to save another character, consider changing it so that this person is instead saved. But by saving this other character, another conflict later on in the story may become even more troublesome because this other character is now present, and perhaps this could lead into another conflict, and you build on from there?

    Don't be afraid to backtrack your story and play around with alternative directions whenever a choice can be made. Of course, some choices cannot be made by the characters because it would throw them out of character. That doesn't mean you can't tweak and change the situation so that the options are different from before, or a character is forced to do something that was not really an option before?
     
  10. beltnoire
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    beltnoire Member

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    If you decide not to focus on a large-scale conflict, that's fine! Sometimes the best stories are about personal struggles, where the only important events of the plot happen to one person or a group of people. It all depends on what kind of story you desire to write.
     
  11. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I can see a fantasy story that is fairly low-key without a massive, epic plot.
    Even the MC's maturing and growing old can be described in a very catchy way if you tackle it properly.
    If it's coming-of-age of some important person, then such process can be very entertaining, brain-draining, if you choose.
    Anything can be put in an interesting way.
     
  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    There are plenty of fantasy stories that don't have an epic plot and just deal with events pertaining to the characters, that turn out to be rather small in the grand scheme of things. Of course you can write something like that. There's no question about it.
     
  13. AlexanderB
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    AlexanderB New Member

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    No-ish.

    How memorable a story becomes is dependent on how the characters interact with it, and how compelling their involvement is. Your plot can be massive in scale, only to fall on its ass because you left your characters to flounder in some massive conspiracy/war/god/intrigue filled storyline. As a reader, I much prefer a personal story where the protagonist is made to confront self-doubt as much as they're made to confront a villain.
     

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