1. PurpleCao
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    PurpleCao Member

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    From point A to point B

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by PurpleCao, Jan 12, 2009.

    Well, i'm struggling here. For some reason, I know where my story begins, and I know how I want it to end, but I can't seem to figure out a natural progression for my story to take. I know vague happenings here and there, but i'm struggling to add in meaningful events to flesh out the story and the characters.

    What methods and techniques do others use for helping to add in meaningful sidelines to their projects?
     
  2. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    I think about the premise to my work; the through-line that supports the plot and which feeds the storyline. I also focus on the theme, or the 'core' of the work, whether it's about redemption or revenge, finding success or coming to terms with the Self. All these help me 'know' my work; not just what it's about, but 'why' I'm writing such a piece. This kind of knowledge adds weight to my grasp on my characters' journeys and objectives, without which I would probably find myself in a situation such as yours. A possible solution is to spend time collating notes regarding plotlines and the reasoning behind your characters' overall objectives. It tends to work for me. Hope it does for you.
     
  3. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like Cheeno's suggestions--also, one thing that is helpful for me is to have a general idea about where I want the story to end up, but not lock myself into it. Sometimes the story ends up going in a different direction than you first envisioned and if you don't go with it--if it's a viable direction that is--then you may end up deadlocked.

    I don't know that this is the problem you're experiencing, but may be something to consider.

    Btw, consider taking some time to visit New Member Introductions and tell us a little about yourself. Cogito will provide you with some helpful links and information so you get off to the right start.

    Welcome to the forums. :)
     
  4. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    When I get a long story (novel or serial) idea in mind I have to mull it over for a SERIOUSLY long time (months to years) to get enough ideas to propel it along to the end. That might sound insane, but writing isn't supposed to be about having an idea pop into your head and whipping up a story in a matter of minutes. It's about hard work, perseverance, and patience. (The reason so many people who get so many great ideas never go anywhere with them...once they find out they have to STICK with them, they lose interest.)

    If you have no clue how the middle of your story goes, think it over. Simple as that. Mull over various scenarios while you're busy doing other things. (Since I write long serials, I'm always busy thinking over ideas for the next story while working on the current one.) If the ideas don't come to you over time, you might have to prompt them by brainstorming--take what you KNOW is going to happen in the story, and think over how you get to that point. Make it an active process. Try out ideas and situations and see which works best. I find I have to do this toward the end of longer stories, to figure out how the middle connects to the climax. The rest of the time, though, I don't brainstorm or actively think up ideas, I just kind of daydream until it comes to me. Some ideas come from the most surprising things.

    Be prepared for a lot of thinking, depending on how long your story is.
     
  5. PurpleCao
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    PurpleCao Member

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    I can vouch for the story taking it's own direction. My story doesn't open how it came to me originally, because the explanation is so darn long it needed re-inventing.
    See, I know vague parts in the middle of my story based on three characters interacting, but it's a very short link to the end. I don't feel satisfied with the length at which it will run. I need to prolong the story, but I hate it when a story is stretched too thin to make sense.
     
  6. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Tehuti made another really helpful point. I had a story idea come to me nearly complete and very detailed over the course of about two hours. The thread I made about it was here a couple of months ago, but the site recently suffered some glitches and a lot of threads were deleted--so I don't know if it's here any more.

    Anyway, the idea came from this vision I had of glittering dust falling from the atmosphere after the sighting of a space ship that entered into orbit around Earth then vanished.

    I'm still mulling it over. To tell the truth, I'm afraid I'll screw it up!

    I suggest--if you've given the story enough thought, which you seem to have--that you start with your MC (or Mc's) in a situation they need to extricate themselves from and go from there. Usually that will break through into more sub-plots.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    In order to generate movement, you need forces to accelerate a mass in the correct direction. That is basic Newtonian physics.

    In terms of story, your forces are the goals that compel a character to move forward, including the coinsequences he or she will face if the goal is not attained, and also the obstacles and conflicts that act to prevent reaching the goal.

    If forward movement is stalled, introduce something that increases the urgency of the character to struggle ahead. In a muystery, you might have the cops suddenly considering your main character to be a prime suspect, so there is an arrest warrant out. In a survival story, it may be a disaster that wipes out a primary food source or all the stored food supply.

    Increase the conflict, raise the stakes, make it harder for the characters to tolerate the status quo.
     
  8. PurpleCao
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    PurpleCao Member

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    That's a good point. I also hadn't considered which genre my story comes under. It's a work of fiction, and there will be an element of mystery including the police, but the aim is to question morals and reliance on technology.
     

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