1. Clepto
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    Clepto New Member

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    how do you organize ideas into a cohesive plot line?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Clepto, Sep 5, 2009.

    i have scattered thoughts of a story i want to write. however, no matter how hard i try, i cant seem to get them into a solid plot line that i can work with.
    as children, we've all been taught the plot arch and how it works. but how can you do this when you only have bits and pieces? any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Read the thread What is Plot Creation and Development? It should give you a good starting point.
     
  3. Cyrano
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    Cyrano Member

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    I use this free software called ywriter. It allows you to break your book up into scenes and chapters, and write a little bit about each part. That way, if there's a scene that I'm not quite sure of what I want to happen, I can leave that section blank or brief, and move on to a scene in which I know what I want to happen. I don't use it for the actual writing, but I found it really handy for putting my plot together.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't... it usually develops as i write... but at some point, if writing a novel, i will do up a sketchy outline, to keep the timeline and subplots from getting away from me...

    if all you have is bits and pieces, then i would advise starting with an outline, to get those bits placed where they can work best... then fleshing it out should be easier to do...
     
  5. Anabella
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    Anabella Member

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    What usually works for me is drawing. Having a visual image of what I'm doing helps. (Since I think I am the visual type) So, if you are one too...here is how I do it. Say you have the characters and you don't know how to integrate them in the plot. Say you have 3 of them. Draw 3 shapes each different (ex. color) draw lines between them if they interact or create a circle in the middle if the are all part of the same plot...then in the circle write down crucial thing about the plot. (or for the characters as well) Basically the trick is to create a mental tree...this works for any type of brainstorming or learning process. Draw it, simplify it and put it into the system. When you have a general blueprint start writing. Maybe put some background music for the shake of inspiration?
    This is what usually works for me...
     
  6. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    Honestly, I do very little planning with any characters or even the plot. I know the ending, or at least the idea behind the ending. Beyond that, I try my damnedest to write everything as they come, it helps give me every character a fresh outlook; he's not just some archetype written to perfectly match the main character. Bleh, sounds too boring to do that.

    I know the beginning of my story, I know the ending, and then I start writing. Whatever may come will come, nothing I can do to stop it, and I don't like snubbing my nose at my own creativity. Anyhow, who needs a index of chapters, events, subplots, foreshadowing, etc, etc, when I have my head. Granted I don't ever sleep, but at least spiders never get a chance to crawl in my mouth when I'm not looking. Damn bed spiders.
     
  7. Fiel
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    Fiel Member

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    I do a simple planning (plot) in a document. Whenever I want to incorporate an idea or two I'll put my imagination to work. Take the time to have it played tens to hundreds of time in my mind, and preferably prepare different versions for one event so that I may choose the best. Then it's a matter of choosing which plot could best take the event. It's crucial for me to know the beginning & ending, then fill whatever necessary in the large gap. If there's anything wrong, editing will do the trick.

    That's my way. Simple, huh? Maybe it'll work for you. Maybe. :D
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Nearly all my planning is in my head, not on paper. It's a much more flexible medium that can rearrange events in an instant, change a motivation and immediately cascade the consequences of te change throughout the nascent tale.

    I use notes for research, and for some "facts" that might easily be forgotten, but most facts don't need to be recorded until they are affixed to the manuscript, Once it's in the manuscript, I don't need it in my notes.

    So my written notes mostly consist of research and calculations. My major projects are science fiction, so the research and calculations are a significant component.

    But events, motivations, character elements -- I don't use written notes for these.
     
  9. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Clepto,

    It sounds as if you have maybe a few characters that you think would be interesting to write about, and maybe a few cool/interesting scenes or events that might be a part of a plot, but really nothing to connect them.

    Sometimes a thought or notion or scene can be the seed, but from there it will take some thougth and time. My novel Flank Hawk came from a simple question I wondered about one day while driving my old Ford Ranger home from work. What would happen if a dragon encountered a WW II fighter aircraft in combat?

    Maybe you don't have enough of an idea for a full-length. Maybe it's only enough for a short story. Maybe the scenes or characters are not really meant to be conected, but in separate stories.

    Really, only you know. But let the ideas simmer. Jot things down. A lot of questions like: "What if?" and "Why?" You'll need a backdrop (time and setting for your story) and you'll need motivation and conflict. You'll need a place for the story to start, events that build the story, increasing interest, tention and the stakes, and a resolution.

    Some folks would look at it like putting a jigzaw puzzle together. Or maybe trying to find the values of variables in algebraic formulas (Wow, algebra and writing!). Maybe it'll come together over time. I hope so!

    Just my two cents on the subject.

    Terry
     

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