1. Justin Berak
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    Justin Berak Member

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    Is My Plot a Plot?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Justin Berak, Sep 27, 2016.

    I'm new to writing. I originally had a longer story with a more complex series of events but I kept cutting at it until it became what I found out to be called "Flash Fiction." The whole premise of the story turned into this: 'A guy who doesn't like eggs eats them for breakfast everyday. He's miserable and hates life. One day he has a bagel instead. Now he's not miserable and doesn't hate life.'

    My question is whether or not that's an actual plot, or if I should just throw the whole story out. I was hoping to at least finish my first story, even thought it sucks, so if there's any possibility I could be told what element of plot I'm missing (if that's even a term) I would appreciate immensely.

    Thank you very much in advance!
     
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  2. cydney
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    cydney Banned

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    I don't know if it's an actual plot or not but it's a great analogy for how we have to learn to do good things for ourselves, do things that make us happy instead of doing the same old same old over and over again, and as Einstein would say, expecting different results.
     
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  3. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Well there's a beginning and an end. But the bagel has no middle!

    Really though it's hard to tell without seeing your flash fic. but as I know it events mark out 'plot' and you've mentioned a couple of them so it passes on that mark. Albeit a shallow one. More a short tale from which you've given a bit of space to draw meaning—A life with a rich centre is hollow whereas a life with a hollow centre is rich? :meh:
     
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  4. IituRSI
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    IituRSI Member

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    I like the idea. I can't tell whether it's a plot or not, but the idea is good and you should not throw it away. I'm pretty new to writing too, never actually finished anything
     
  5. Sparrow Kuhn
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    Sparrow Kuhn Member

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    It sounds like a plot to me.
     
  6. Robert Musil
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    Robert Musil Contributing Member

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    Womp womp.

    I think this sounds perfectly serviceable, especially for something flash-sized. In fact it sounds like more plot than my ~80,000 word WIP has at the moment...
     
  7. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Well it would make for a good Flash-Fic, but as for a whole novel? IDK, Gonna really be working the technical parts of this one. And working them quite thin, like not enough butter on toast. :p
     
  8. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    It does sound like you have a plot. There is a begging, middle and end. I love a mundane story. Seriously, there is something beautiful about a more mundane story that reflects something bigger. Of course, I haven't read your story, but it does sound like it has potential.

    If you want to send it out and try to publish, Flash Fiction Online pays $50 a story. And Tin House has Flash Fiction Fridays, another one worth checking out. Both are great places to read flash and see what's being published.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2016
  9. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Oh how Sam wanted a sandwich. But all he ever had was beans. So one day instead of
    buying beans, Sam bought a loaf of bread, mustard, cold cuts, tomatoes, lettuce, and
    mustard. So home he went with his groceries. A smile on his face and a bounce in his
    step.

    So Sam giddily placed to to slices of bread upon the plate. Smeared mustard liberally on
    each slice. He salivated as he added the meats, tomato, and luttuce. It towered tall and crisp.
    It was a proud sight to him as he placed the other slice atop the tower of fixings. He took the
    to the table. He took in all the pinks, brown, red, green, and yellow. And for a moment a
    tear came to his eye. It was just so beautiful.

    Sam was found a week later by the land lord. Flies buzzed about his morbid grinning corpse.
    His hollow gaze on a lumpy moldy sandwich. It struck the landlord in much awe, as it did
    grotesque. Well nothing left to do then get these two rotten lovers out, the landlord thought
    as he pried the corpse from the kitchen chair. Through gagging and tears, Sam and the sandwich
    were forever together in the dumpster. And then the landfill. To rotted souls dancing in the
    muck, filth, and refuse for all eternity.
     
  10. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    The only thing that might be missing (and it could do perfectly well without it) would be a reason for him to have a bagel. To me that's the middle and you're only describing a beginning and end. But there being no middle could easily be the point, or it might just not need one. It's hard to be sure without actually reading. Definitely don't just throw it out.
     
  11. hawls
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    hawls Active Member

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    It's not a plot so much as it is a premise. You build the plot around the premise.
     
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  12. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    Why isn't it a plot? It's got a beginning, middle and end. The climax is when he decides to have a bagel. Seriously, stories like this can work. To me, it's a clear story. It might sound simple or mundane, but it all comes down to what you do with it. This character has been eating the same thing for breakfast every day, and he hates it. Well, that's kind of interesting. Why would this character choose to start each day with something he hates? Surely, he won't have a good day, maybe ever. Has this gone on his whole life? Or maybe it's that his wife died and their last meal together was eggs. Is that why he hates eggs? What's with the self torture? The something happens. He's done with eggs. He's moving on to the bagel. This could be a really big game changer. And then it is. What a character change. What a look at the human condition. I don't know how the OP chose to tell this story, but I see a story and a plot 100 percent.
     
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  13. Justin Berak
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    Justin Berak Member

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    Many thanks to everyone, whether you responded with a yes, no, or possibly! You all helped a lot! And thank you for the information considering publication, deadrats!
     
  14. TheWriteWitch
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    TheWriteWitch Senior Member

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    Definitely a plot but maybe you need to add a little tension.

    The big question is what happens that makes him grab a bagel for breakfast? His favorite waitress at the diner gets fired and he has to refuse his eggs or look like a jerk? He's hit by a Prius (minor injuries) and forced to spend the morning in the hospital where all they offer is bagels for breakfast? Or does a strange encounter cause him to have a prophetic dream about chickens and he just can't stomach them anymore?

    Fun idea. Good luck!
     
  15. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    I'm not sure how much tension is needed in a flash piece with a plot like this. And without seeing it, I don't think anyone can really say something like it needs more tension. Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn't. But I don't think this story is about tension. I could be wrong.
     
  16. TheWriteWitch
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    TheWriteWitch Senior Member

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    Ah, word choice. How about crisis? Pillar? Mid-point? Turning point? The raison d'etre upon which the premise becomes a plot?
     
  17. TheWriteWitch
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    TheWriteWitch Senior Member

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    I was really just suggesting that focusing on the action would help. I find the character's actions much easier to see when they bump up against something (like a tense situation that causes the change). Catalyst? So many words. . .
     
  18. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    I'm just saying we don't know that the OP didn't focus on the action or doesn't have the perfect amount of tension or whatever.
     
  19. hawls
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    hawls Active Member

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    Aside from the OP literally defining it as a premise:

    Premise is the basic idea behind the story. Which is; guy who doesn't like eggs but eats them every day suddenly has a bagel and no longer hates life. Plot would be exactly what answers all the whys you asked. Plot is the actual story.

    You can see the potential for a plot from the premise. But there is a difference between plot and premise.

    Premise of Lord of the Rings: tiny humanoid with hairy feet must destroy an evil ring by tossing it into a volcano

    Plot of Lord of the Rings: Frodo the hobbit is tasked with carrying a cursed ring containing the essence of the evil Sauron whose forces relentlessly hunt him down. Frodo proves to be the only one who can resist the corrupting power of the ring but because he is only a tiny hobbit others must support and protect him. However, Sauron's forces have amassed an army, and attack the realms, splitting their focus. The task then becomes the sole responsibility of Frodo and his loyal companion Sam.

    Premise of Harry Potter: orphan boy discovers he is a wizard with magical powers and an evil wizard wants him dead

    Plot of Harry Potter: As a baby Harry Potter miraculously survived a death curse cast by the evil wizard Voldemort, reflecting the spell back at him. This split Voldemort's soul so that a piece of it now resides inside Harry. Still tethered to the mortal realm, Voldemort's loyal supporters find a way to bring him back to full power, while Harry and his friends track down all the pieces of Voldemort's soul so he can finally be destroyed once and for all.

    Premise of The Hunger Games: in a dystopian future children are forced to fight to the death as punishment for starting a civil war

    Plot of The Hunger Games: Katniss Everdeen takes her sister's place in the Hunger Games and, while fighting to survive and keep her friend Peeta alive, uses the politics of the Capitol against itself to launch all out war against the tyrannical President Snow so no children will ever be forced to die needlessly ever again. Oh except children from the Capitol, fuck those guys.

    Premise is your idea. Plot is how you express that idea. Like you alluded to, @deadrats it's how you choose to tell the story.

    My examples might be terrible but my point is that there is a difference between premise and plot. Other people have defined that difference far better than I so it's worth researching if you haven't understood my ill composed gibberish.
     
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  20. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    Google "plot:" the main events of a play, novel, movie, or similar work, devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence.

    I stand by what I said. The OP asked if there was a plot. There is.
     
  21. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    Also, I just want to add that I find it kind of insulting at the attempt to school me on this. You don't know me, hawls, and I don't appreciate being singled out so you can try and teach me what a plot is. Come on. Maybe this is a sign that I've overstayed my welcome on this site.
     
  22. hawls
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    hawls Active Member

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    No you haven't. And I'm sorry. But I see where we misunderstood each other. I was responding to your question of "Why isn't this a plot?" Because it isn't a plot. It's a premise. There is a plot within the premise. I'm sorry if I'm still misunderstanding you and not expressing myself clearly. I didn't mean to insult you. But you haven't overstayed your welcome. I've been here, what, 2 minutes? You don't have to listen to me at all.
     
  23. Justin Berak
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    Justin Berak Member

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    As a third party I don't think anyone insulted anyone? I appreciate both opinions...
     
  24. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    What I see is a beginning, a change and a conclusion, but no catalyst for that change. If he just changes his mind I wouldn't call it a plot and definitely not a story.
     
  25. Vinny the Jackal
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    Vinny the Jackal Member

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    Also, how does the main character change? He eats eggs, but hates them. Why? Is he trying to overcome his hatred? Is it penance for something? And then, yes, what catalyst incites the change that makes him opt for a bagel instead? If you can answer these questions, then yeah, I think there's a plot.
     

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