1. Spit_Hellfire
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    Spit_Hellfire New Member

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    Help with Long Plot

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Spit_Hellfire, Aug 10, 2013.

    Hello everyone, I'm just your average college student who's interested in perhaps writing something meaningful.

    I want to try my hand at writing a longer piece of fiction, perhaps even the length of a short novel. That said, despite having many random ideas floating around in my head about climactic events or interesting plot developments, I'm awful at even attempting to organize them.

    Does anyone have attempts as to how to go about making something concrete with a longer project and how organize it so that a huge influx of ideas can be made to fit together reasonably well while keeping a good sense of flow?
     
  2. odolmen
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    odolmen Member

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    Hi there!
    I was in the same situation you are. Here's the trick I used to kinda-sorta start to get out of it:
    For each of my characters, I wrote down a list of things I wanted to see happen to them. It wasn't anything precise or finished but it allowed me to map out all of my ideas, to get a sense of what was going to happen. It went something like...

    Girl 1:
    beats up a guy with a baseball bat
    eats ice cream
    gets hammered
    steals a car
    organises caterpilar races at the park
    goes shopping
    gets her hand cut off

    Girl 2:
    activism
    hides a wanted criminal
    part of a sect
    falls in love
    suicide bomber
    works at a diner

    And then, you start linking things together and seeing how your characters react to them.
    What if Girl 1 had ice cream where Girl 2 works? Maybe they'd chat, become friends, end up having shots from the counter after Girl 2 closed the place.
    What if Girl 2's activist organisation fought the terrible consequences of having caterpillar races at the park? Maybe she'd tie herself up with a bunch of explosives and blast up the whole park.
    What if Girl 2 chopped off Girl 1's hand with a knife from the diner's kitchen? Girl 1 could then try to go shopping for one-handed gloves without any success.
    What if Girl 2 was in love with a wanted criminal? He could be part of a sect and have manipulated her into accepting a suicide bombing mission. In preparing the attack, they could have stashed some explosives in the trunk of his car. What if he was the guy Girl 1 bashed with a bat? Girl 1 could then run off with his car, have an accident because she was driving with only one hand, and explode in a great ball of fire with a cocktail of C4, nitroglycerin and rocket fuel.

    Using that technique, I was able to overcome that terrible block that had been plaguing me for... ever? Something like that.
    It allows you to keep all the dramatic situations at hand while weaving them in different ways and see what works best.
    Of course, it's even easier if your characters are already fleshed out. That way, it only takes a glance to see whether a situation is likely to develop the way you sketched it or not. If it doesn't work, try dropping that bomb on another character and see what he makes of it.

    I hope that helped :)

    Best of luck with your story!
     
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  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There are many ways to organize a story. I tend to collect the ideas in my head, and visualize the relationships between characters and events. It's the only way I, personally, can keep it sufficiently fluid.

    But if you prefer to see it laid out before you, how about a whiteboard, post-its, and connecting them with dry-erase marker.
     
  4. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I imagine watching my story on the big screen, I even pick the actors to play the parts and base my settings on real life places that I know well or have at least been to, even if's my local area here in France and I just put Jewish names on the streets for a setting in Israel for instance.

    If I attempted to use post-its I'd imagine my study looking like a serial-murder investigative room from CSI and I'd be totally lost so as Cog says - I visualise everything too - it's all perfectly randomised in my head and I just write and write and spend lots of time editing and re-editing.

    Good luck with whatever method you choose.
     
  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I start with the idea - what is the main crux of the story (who, what, where etc) and most importantly, how does it end? Then I start composing the cast, usually main characters, the protagonist, antagonist, allies etc. I spend a long time figuring them out, their motivations and how they relate to each other and the overall story. By this time, I start having clearer idea of the scenes I want to put in, and it all snowballs from there, really.
     
  6. stanislav
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    stanislav Member

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    You should start with your main idea. What are you going to tell the world? Supposing your story to be a story about why different people react differently to same provocations, why some are agressive while other are stoical... you may need to explore the fear. Then you will need the story which could reflect the main idea best. Develop the story first, main characters will came along, and once you have the beginning and the end, create the special folder and give a file to every important characters.
    I worked simultaniosly on character building and scenes developing with clustering them into chapters. Here and there I was writing something that proved to be good enough for passing the last edition, but most of nice writing is after you have the story, scenes, characters, beginning and the end. But the most importnatn thing is to prepare yourself for recurrent creative pain.
    Good luck.
     
  7. TLK
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    TLK Active Member

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    I've written down the plot of my series of planned novels on a Word doc. I just sat myself down one day and wrote it all out. It's changing almost every week, of course, you're not going to nail it first time. I also find it's useful to visualise it in my head, but that's more for details of scenes. So in my Word doc I would have things like "Bob goes to Africa and meets with the tribal leader and together they get chased by a herd of buffalo". I wouldn't have down the exact details of the buffalo-chase scene though so, when it got to near the time to write that scene, I'll start to visualise how it might go.
     

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