1. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    Illogical Plot

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by colorthemap, Mar 10, 2012.

    In the short story I just finished I find that my plot is incoherent. My narrator is designed to question much of what is going on and although I find it is easy enough, or at least as easy as I wanted it to be, to understand what is going on I don't think the events mesh well together. How can I make the plot structure logical while still having an air of mystery.
     
  2. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Keep practicing and keep reading good mystery novels, to see how those writers handled it successfully, and then try to apply it to your own voice. Other than that, there's no magic formula. That's why writing is considered art. Good luck!
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you don't believe the logic of the story, how can you sell it to the reader?

    Well, it is possible. You can define or borrow a framework in which the logic is consistent, but if you can't do that, your only options are to rework the logic so it is internally consistent, or to de-emphasize the weak points of the logic.

    A few decades ago, Roald Dahl wrote the screenplay for the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. The story was an over-the-top epic of an attempt to start World War III with the evil organization SPECTRE hijacking Russian and American space capsules from orbit, from a rocket base hidden inside a dormant volcano. It had everything - helicopter dogfights, Bond evading a virtual army of enemies in a rooftop battle on foot, a ninja assault squad, and a deliberate volcanic eruption as a self-destruct.

    The story was so over the top, no one asked the obvious question. Instead of the incredible expense and technical challenge of a predator spaceship to capture space capsules and bring them intact to the hidden base, why not just destroy them from a distance?

    I'm sure Roald Dahl saw that obvious flaw. But it was much more fun to ignore it and make an insanely wild action tale instead.

    Sell it, or hide it.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Who is the narrator ? How do they relate to the mystery ? Maybe the wrong person is the narrator ?
     
  5. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    Interesting Cogito, it is after all my story and in theory I could make it as abruptly insane as I want it to be.

    And I sorry I wasn't clear: the story is not a mystery in the crime sense. It is meant to be slightly confusing to the reader I just have to figure out to make it confusing yet logical.
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm wondering if it has to be logical ? If it is told in first person you take advantage of an unreliable narrator which can allow logic holes to be left in the story ? I've done that with stories, although i understand the logic of the story and the background, sometimes the narrator doesn't.
     
  7. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    I think will go that route(or I already did), having an unreliable narrator or at least a confused narrator. If I do submit it to the forums I may link it to this to see if I am understood, but I don't know if I will be doing that.

    Anyway thanks for the help.
     
  8. Luna13
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    Luna13 Active Member

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    No one will read a story that doesn't make sense, but you should by no means scrap it. Maybe just take a break and write something else, and when you come back to it you will have a fresh sense of what the problem is and hopefully will be able to fix it.
     
  9. DotTheI
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    DotTheI New Member

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    Chickamauga by Ambrose Bierce. ("And this will all make sense in the end." - Paul Thomas Anderson)
     
  10. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You should read "Once Upon a Time in Allepo" by Nabokov (although I may or may not have misquoted the title slightly - it's been a few years)

    It's a 4 or 5-paged short story about an unreliable narrator. By the end of it, you can tell what has happened and what was just in the man's head, because all the events he talks about contradicts, and yet he gives quite a bit of emotion and detail to each. Very interesting. Read it, see how Nabokov was able to keep it comprehensible while confusing the heck out of the reader.
     
  11. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Logic isn't behind the actions of most people. Most often emotion is. It doesn't have to be logical, just understandable. Committing murder is not logical but people understand how it can happen. Why something occurs only has to be reasonable not necessarily logical, even if the motivations are irrational which often times they are. It's the irrational that usually gets our attention. It makes us want to know how could it happen.
     

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