1. Sillraaia
    Offline

    Sillraaia Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    1

    I have a storyline, but no real plot. Does it matter?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Sillraaia, Mar 16, 2010.

    Just started book two, and I have down what everyone decides to do after the end of book one... but a series of events does not a plot make.
    It feels more like simply a continuation of book one, being that there is no build up to a climax and an anti climax... Though I have a higher action part then a slow down.... they could fit into a larger story.. what I have isn't enough to make a book out of, yet is worth putting out there, imo.

    Does anyone understand what I am trying to say here? lol

    So I have plenty of room to fit a plot in there.. but need some ideas. And I'm not asking for them here, but - how does everyone come up with a plot for a book two?
    It seems a lot different than just coming up with a plot for a book one.

    Is it just a matter of staring at what I DO have until something comes up? What works for you, to spark plot ideas?

    Thanks

    edit: Oh, and have you read a book with a storyline and no plot and enjoyed it? Or would it leave you feeling empty / unfulfilled somehow?
     
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    No plots at all? Or no central plot that the story is built upon?

    If there are no plots whatsoever, I don't see how you would keep the reader's interest. But as long as you have characters struggling to overcome obstacles, you have plots, perhaps enough to hold te reader's interest in the characters.
     
  3. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    nor a story!

    not i, sorry to say...

    if it's a sequel, it should be even easier than the first, since you already have the characters and a situation to build upon...

    if you just mean a second novel, unconnected to the first, then you do it the same way you did the first one... you get an idea and develop it into a book-worthy plot...

    staring won't help... reading could... or just thinking about where you left your characters and what they may want/have to do next...

    i don't have any problem getting ideas... only with having too many...

    i have no clue what you mean by that... a story is a plot, to some extent... and vice versa... unlike 'love and marriage' despite the song's claim, you really can't have one without the other...
     
  4. Sillraaia
    Offline

    Sillraaia Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    1
    Okay, to clarify, I read Cog's post, where he defined three things:

    So what I guess I am saying is I have some plots, and some things happening (storyline, that continue on from the last book - yes, this is the second book, following the first), but no central plot that builds to a climax and upon its completion ends the book. I have only the little ones that wind around it.

    And yes, I understand that I have no story yet, hence why I am here searching for different ideas on how different people brainstorm for more ideas when they seem to keep hitting a wall. If I cannot get a central plot, I don't feel the story will work. But since I still consider myself a writing noob, I thought to ask if anyone else has read something that didn't seem to have a central plot.

    And if I don't feel confident that the story will work before I start writing it, I'm not going to. Start writing it, that is.

    I might try staring at a few of those themes mentioned for a bit, see if something hits me then. Like an old rusty car, my imagination takes some time to fire, and I am just turning the key and hearing it try, yet fail to start.

    Thanks again.
     
  5. coldu
    Offline

    coldu Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    1

    That's not a good idea. Many writers gain confidnece while writing and have only a general idea of where the story is going as they are structuring it. It is while you are writing that you'll find your way.
     
  6. Sillraaia
    Offline

    Sillraaia Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    1
    I don't tend to work well that way. Personally, I am motivated by a good story... once I think up a good plot for it, the excitement will carry me through the creation of the novel.

    Also, I need to see where I am going first; I can't work blindly like others seem to be able to do. Not that I need a full structure first - but a general idea works well for me.
     
  7. gitamo
    Offline

    gitamo Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    currently Philladelphia, usually Australia
    Interesting thread for me. I thought I had the same issue - storyline without plot, but while reading this and Cogito's post about theme, storyline and plot I realized I DO have a major plot as well as some sub-plots, I just didn't know that this is what they are. Thanks!
     
  8. Gigi_GNR
    Offline

    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    12,143
    Likes Received:
    250
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I agree with Cog. A storyline is good, but a storyline without a plot is like a person without a backbone. How are you supposed to get anywhere really? I mean, it's an excellent start, to be sure, but a plot is a need.
     
  9. JAU44
    Offline

    JAU44 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2010
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I don't know if anyone else has said this but I definitely don't think plot is a prerequisite to your story... I mean, it all depends of course but one of my favourite films is Dazed & Confused which had next to no plot.

    And I know writing involves certain guidelines and rules but I also believe it's important to challenge what we know or what we think we know... you never know, try it without a plot, you could create something completely unique.
     
  10. Norm
    Offline

    Norm Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Michigan
    Man, if you don't have anything interesting to write as a sequel, avoid writing one.

    You're better off writing something completely new that you can do whatever you want to. Writing a sequel when the well is dry becomes like the album that a band re-unites 20 years later to write, but given the choice between that or one of the classics, the classics always prevail.

    I read your post and this is what I imagine:

    You: Okay, I got all these characters, so now I gotta get a sequel.........

    You: Sequel............

    You: Nope, nothing.

    If the ideas are forced, then don't even use them. Art should never be forced, that just makes for low quality!
     
  11. Synec Dochic
    Offline

    Synec Dochic New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Australia
    The book 'Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha' is a good example of a novel that has a fairly unconventional form. I found it to be an extremely good read despite having no structural main plot, and being constructed of the disjoint memories of a ten year old that I'm pretty sure didn't even follow a linear time line.
    It's a book written, effectively, about someone's experiences. I imagine this would be hard to pull off, at least well. The plot ends up very 'between the lines' and becomes very in line with the theme.
    The thing you want to ask yourself in this case, I think, is whether or not you want to deviate that much from the way in which you wrote your first book.
    I have never read a book that was done in first person present tense with a sequel that was in third person past tense.


    When I first decided that I wanted to write, I had a single idea in my head which was is no way enough to write a novel.
    With much thought I was able to add other ideas, and chatting with friends and family, watching tv, or reading other books, I soon found I had enough to act as a basis to build something on. I built a world full of concepts and people and places and got straight into writing. It was two scenes into the first chapter that I realized I'd forgotten the most important thing. I hadn't asked myself why my characters were doing what they were doing. I hardly even knew what they wanted to achieve.
    Put yourself in your character's shoes for an hour. You created them, so you have to know them wholly and intimately, and ask yourself what you (as your character) are doing, and why.
    After you have all your subplots worked out, ask yourself what all of this achieves as far as the story is concerned . If it's nothing but the personal growth of your characters it doesn't matter, cause that's still as good a plot as any. However it helps if you can find a central sort of idea that each of the subplots can revolve around. Try to come up with something that could force all of the character's along their path.

    The short version is really just to ask yourself a few of the important questions. 'What' and 'Why'.
    Also, look for conflict. Not many people or characters grow because their situation is too comfortable.
     
  12. Halcyon
    Offline

    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    England
    Sillraaia

    If I'm reading your post correctly, it would seem that your problem is that you've completely lost the plot! ;)
     
  13. HorusEye
    Offline

    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Denmark
    The World According To Garp didn't really have any plot.
     
  14. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    many successful novels don't have clearly defined plots... such as the 'coming of age' genre, where the 'story' consists only of the character's journey through life, with no major goal to be attained, or conflict to be resolved, no single antagonist to be dealt with...
     
  15. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Even a coming of age novel usually has a pivotal challenge that brings about an epiphany.
     
  16. GH Pots
    Offline

    GH Pots Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    1
    Plot?

    Maybe I am not sure what a plot is? If you have an interesting story, isn't that enough? If it holds your (and your reader's) attention does it matter if it is called a story or a plot?

    Maybe if you were just describing going to the grocery store where nothing happened and you did not run into anybody and it was quite possibly the most boring day in your life, then you may neither have a story nor a plot in what you are saying. Other than that, I would not worry about having one or the other.

    The reader wants to be entertained. How you go about it does not really matter. And what you call it matters less.

    Tells us a story. Tell us a story that will keep us listening long after we have run out of wine and you really wish we would just go home.
     
  17. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    A plot is a dynamic within a storyline, consisting of an actor, a goal or objective, a motivation, and an opposition. It's the Newton's Second Law as applied to literature, that describes the forces that propel the actor (character) toward or away from the goal. The motivation is the force that drives the actor toward the goal, and the oppositiion is the force that pushes the character away from the goal.

    The opposition is often another plot.

    A storyline is merely a chronology of events. The plots are what cause the events along the storyline.
     
  18. Three
    Offline

    Three Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Land of the Silver Birch
    No plot = no book, but that's ok. Just play around with your characters, try putting them into situations they'd have trouble with. Stuff like 'he's got no money for groceries, what's he gonna do?' all the way to 'his sister died right after marrying a gold digger husband'. The last is a bad example, and I'm sorry, but if you keep up at it for long enough, the characters will present you with a fantastic idea. :]
     

Share This Page