1. Diatribe
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    Diatribe Member

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    Exploring the descent of emotions.....

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Diatribe, May 18, 2015.

    As the title suggests, I'm looking at developing a series of short stories (as to help brush up my writing chops) to explores the various stages of a certain emotion. It's one thing to tell a tale, it's another to immerse the reader into the emotional state of the protagonist of the story. I'm looking to do that. My overall aim is to start with the story arcs that are cyclical in nature in that they take the reader there on the journey. For example, in the first story, it would start out with the theme of HOPE, to LOSS, to SELF-LOATHING (inward hatred), to HATRED (outward). The next story would continue from that arc, exploring further emotions that would ultimately have the reader back (upon the final story) to that of HOPE.

    Sorry for the rambling, it's sometimes hard to take the madness of a million words in your skull, each banging for release and you can only type so fast and it often leads to things being lost in translation along the way.
     
  2. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    What's your question? Are you looking for tips on how to do this? Or plot ideas?
     
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  3. Diatribe
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    Sorry if I was a bit too vague in my question.

    In essence, I'm looking for ideas as to how to shape, form and mold the story around such ideas. How does one start a story off in the theme of HOPE that our protagonist finds themselves in an abundance in such a way that they don't come across as an overpowering IN YOUR FACE experience? The same can be transposed over to the other emotions that will be found in subsequent stories featuring the theme of the overall arcing emotional ride that the characters (and hopefully the reader) take from start to finish.

    Does that help any clear things up more, or does it confuse even further?
     
  4. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, you could think up an overarching plot that includes all those themes and name the segments of the story Hope, Loss, Self-Loathing and Hatred. For example:

    Hope: Mary's life's a mess. She's gone through an ugly divorce, her ex Bill seems to have things just perfectly set up in his new shiny life with a new shiny wife, and Mary's just found out she's got lung cancer. At least it's treatable. In the hospital, she befriends Pete who has pancreatic cancer. Pete's sweet; a bird photographer with a great sense of humor. Single, too.
    Loss: Pete dies. Not of the cancer, but he actually kills himself after a conversation with Mary where she said something that he (maybe) used as a justification to kill himself. Apparently he wanted to go on his own terms.
    Self-Loathing: Mary loathes herself for having gotten Pete killed -- she thinks -- and for possibly causing the lung cancer to herself 'cause she's a smoker, and this way letting down her daughter, Alice.
    Hatred: Social services decide to take Alice to Bill the ex, whom she hates now more than ever, 'cause she thinks he fed lies to the social services about her.
    Hope: The cancer goes to remission, Mary leaves the hospital. She's strong enough to look after Alice again, and there's a sliver in hope in mending things with Bill -- not romantically, but at least they can put their differences aside for Alice's sake. Mary finds out Pete has a brother, Wayne, who's interested in hearing about Pete's last moments. Mary and Wayne become friends. There's hope for a better future, after all.

    I know I just made that on the spot, but it was the clearest example I could think of now. Every segment is a short story of its own with a plot of it's own, but the main plot, or the framing plot, is Mary's fight with cancer.

    Is that the kind of structure you had in mind? The overarching plot doesn't have to be that obvious, of course. You could e.g. write of a summer camp, choose 5-6 characters, and tell everyone's story with the theme of your choice in mind. What connects the characters is that they're all at the camp.
     

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