1. Morgan Willows
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    Morgan Willows Member

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    Explosive Snowflaking. Halp?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Morgan Willows, Sep 23, 2013.

    So, when I'm working out plot, I tend to snowflake (start with one or two simple points and then expand/expound until plot happens, rinse and repeat until you have a book). The problem I'm having is that I started with a fairly straightforward outline... and it's not straightforward anymore. The more I looked at it, the more backstory and world building and plot-relevant history I found. So now what I thought was one book is more like material enough for at least three... and I'm only halfway through the overarching story.
    I'm really tempted to just say "forget it" but the stuff I'm finding is all stuff that's actually kinda necessary to understand the plot and most of the characters. It's too much information to be able to sneak it in here and there without it being awkward and it's going to really interrupt the flow of my story if I have to pull a Tolkien and spend a whole chapter introducing every new place, character, object, and idea as it comes along.

    Basically, I have an absolutely unholy amount of information to work with and I really need a way to categorize plot points/organize it into a more coherent structure. Does anyone know of any ideas/layouts/programs that might be helpful?
     
  2. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    It sounds like you need a mind mapper. Try Freeplane.
     
  3. Morgan Willows
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    Morgan Willows Member

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    Wow, that program looks just about perfect! I'm definitely going to have to give it a shot. Thanks.
     
  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Do you know yet where your story is going? Which characters will be left standing? Which ones will succeed, which ones will fail? What will your 'world' be like at the end?

    If you haven't yet reached that point in your planning, perhaps you should spend some time thinking of what you'd like your ending to be. Once you know where you're headed, I suspect you'll have a better idea of what you'll need to take you there. Then just confine your details to whatever moves the story forward towards that goal.

    Of course you can change things as you write, and it's not set in stone. But try to set it in hard plastic as soon as you can!
     
  5. Morgan Willows
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    Morgan Willows Member

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    "in hard plastic" haha, I like that. And no, I don't have a solid ending yet, that's part of what my snowflaking is usually for >.> it just... went really fractal really quickly this time.
     
  6. TLK
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    TLK Active Member

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    Aw.... I thought someone was writing a story about exploding snowflakes... :(

    On a serious note, I'd second the use of Freeplane. I use it from time to time, and find it very useful indeed!
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that it's normal for a story to have a ton of backstory--the most boring person in the world has a ton of backstory. The question, IMO, is how much of that backstory needs to actually be in the story, as opposed to just sitting in your mind and informing your decisions. And how much of it needs to be known in advance.

    For example, in _The Hobbit_ we don't know where the Ring came from, or how Gollum got it, or why he loved it, or how he became what he was. We get little hints, but we absolutely don't get a full explanation, and we don't need that explanation for _The Hobbit_ to be a complete and satisfactory story. We get that stuff in the other books, but we absolutely don't need it in _The Hobbit_.

    There's probably a story in your highly detailed backstory-filled world that you can tell without telling all that backstory. And then there's probably another one. And if that all goes well, you may eventually be able to commit to a series, but for now, just write one story at a time. That's my suggestion, anyway.
     
  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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  9. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I know! Maybe something like a bunch of NaK got shot into the atmosphere and it's raining down?
     
  10. Morgan Willows
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    Morgan Willows Member

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    To be fair, The Hobbit was written as a child-to-young adult range book, but I get what you mean. And yes, the backstory I'm talking about is just the stuff that legitimately needs to be included for the main story to make sense. I've got a lot of politics going on that's heavily influencing the story and some of the major character interaction. There are also fairly big chunks of the story that won't make sense without the readers understanding what is essentially the physics of the world's magic (I'm trying to avoid hand-waving things as much as possible because I find AWizardDidIt to be one of the most annoying things ever in fantasy and I just don't want to write it that way).
     
  11. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    I have this exact problem all the time! I'm glad I'm not alone, and I'm glad to be able to steal advice posted here.
    Something I've had to FORCE myself to do is cut things down to the bare minimum the reader needs, then fill in details as needed. (Beta readers are to be treasured!) Thankfully, my obsessive world-building has left me with enough info I can just look it up in my Handy Dandy Reference Binder of Doom.
     
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  12. Morgan Willows
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    Morgan Willows Member

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    I'm not the only one with a Reference Binder of Doom! That makes me happy :D
     
  13. Complex
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    Complex Senior Member

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    Beware the worldbuilding plague... one thing leads to another and I've got an entire universe fleshed out from its very beginnings and little to show outside of the mountain of theory and backstory. Consistency is good, but creating it from top-down is far more problematic from bottom-up.
     

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