1. northernpsyche
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    northernpsyche Member

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    Have you lost the plot?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by northernpsyche, Oct 18, 2012.

    How obvious do you need to be with your plots?
    I suppose short stories you need to get to the point much quicker. Its just i recently read a something and the plot wasn't revealed until the end. To cap it off it it was disappointing too.
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I think it depends on what your writing - if your writing a genre book readers have certain expectations
    they want something that goes smoothly, isn't too complicated, slightly familiar so yes I think
    in genre fiction a plot has to be somewhat obvious.

    In non-genre literature sometimes ( not always ) but sometimes plot takes a back seat
    to theme - I was reading Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse last night and felt
    it's plot kind of meandered - it was more theme than plot - The battle between the intellect
    and the artist.

    As for surprise endings - I was reading a how-to-plot book and the writer wasn't a fan of
    surprise endings. He felt the writer was merely constructing a verbal
    jack-in-the-box experience ( wind up the reader and then Pow! ) fine for one
    reading but hardly worth a second read. He also warned that everything has to
    be constructed around the surprise, and if it's not done right it could backfire.
    Either the ending doesn't add up, came out of left field, the writer didn't leave enough
    clues behind so the reader could guess, etc.
     
  3. Snyder80
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    Snyder80 Member

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    This seems to happen to me often. I can throw a few chapters together and then, for some reason, I hit a wall.
     
  4. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Have you lost the plot?

    Yes! Many moons ago.
     
  5. Kinch
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    Kinch Member

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    The plot evaded me. I always get blamed for these things.
     
  6. Kinch
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    Kinch Member

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    Northernpsyche, that's how you keep short stories short. :D
     
  7. Fife
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    Fife Senior Member

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    Do you remember what it was that you read?

    I think when we refer to standards, we are speaking about Westernized storytelling, which generally follows a certain flow (and from what I've been told, it has and continues to evolve). I guess what I am suggesting is that other cultures may have different styles of storytelling. In some cases, when stories are translated from one culture to another, it can be odd and disorienting.

    I think it's interesting that you bring this up. I read a book (I can't remember the title) once that made an observation that stories (books and movies) have changed a lot as of recent in one aspect: the introduction of the story. I'm sure I'm going to butcher the author's explanation (as the vocabulary I am about to use are not his but my own), but the general gist was this: traditional stories started out with character development, a (relatively) cataclysmic event, a struggle, and a conclusion. In my head, it looks like this:

    [Introduction]...[Character Development]...[Cataclysmic Event]...[Struggle]...[Conclusion]

    The author made an observation that many modern stories cut to the chase now, and omit the long introduction and start immediately with the Cataclysmic Event and incorporate character development within the Struggle.

    I'm really not sure what that means in the grand scale. I guess one inference I could make from this is that today's readers have a shorter attention span and don't have the patience to dilly-dally with long introductions (to the plot).
     
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  8. northernpsyche
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    northernpsyche Member

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    I think when we refer to standards, we are speaking about Westernized storytelling, which generally follows a certain flow (and from what I've been told, it has and continues to evolve). I guess what I am suggesting is that other cultures may have different styles of storytelling. In some cases, when stories are translated from one culture to another, it can be odd and disorienting.
    Yeah i have heard it called the hero's journey. I am sure other cultures have different styles of storytelling.
    I am not sure that we have shorter attention spans but we may read to suit our lifestyle (i read different types of books on the bus than i do at home). Apparently there is quite an appetite now for Flash novels presumably because of the internet.
     
  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    What on earth is a "flash" novel?
     
  10. BethBeth
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    BethBeth New Member

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    Flash!

    Sorry if I am leaping in ahead of northernpsyche, particularly if my assumptions are wrong!
    I assume the subject referred to is flash fiction (as opposed to Flash the novel by L. E. Modesitt). Anyway, flash fiction is just very short fiction. The exact size depends on who you are writing it for as it has no special defined length. I have heard of magazines that specify a maximum of 300 words although I've also seen up to 750 words too. It seems to me to be the smaller the better as I have even seen flash fiction in the form of just one sentence! Not sure I could manage that - I have a tendency to ramble at the best of times! Hope that helps...
     

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