1. alejuf287
    Offline

    alejuf287 New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    Meaning of Plot

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by alejuf287, May 16, 2012.

    I have begun to write a story, but as with any other time I've sat down to write fiction, I cannot seem to grasp the meaning of plot.
    Meaning, I understand that it is the actions that hold the story together, but what actions do I write? I'm totally at a loss for what to do to make things seem to progress naturally and from one situation to another while keeping relevance intact.

    I write with the overall,big picture-based meaning in mind far more than the actual story. Philosophy comes naturally to me, but mixing on-the-fly philosophy with on-the-fly concrete actions is really tough and I end up writing a page of passive, detailed, and abstract introspection without any forward motion in the plot.

    Basically, are there any basic rules, a good site, or a good book to know for bringing your imagination past thoughts and into a world?
     
  2. indy5live
    Offline

    indy5live Active Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2012
    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Houston
    A boy found a time capsule. (k, now what?) The boy can't open the time capsule (Darn that conflict, what's he going to do now?) The boy starts shaking the time capsule (Not sure that's the smartest idea!) The boy is blinded by a bright light and discovers himself in a very unfamiliar place (Told ya he should have shaken it...what's he at?) The boy isn't sure where he is at but he meets a strange fella (Oh dear, don't talk to strangers.) blah blah blah

    Simplify your plot to a single sentence "A boy found a time capsule" and build the start around that single idea, asking yourself the question, what next? The key is just start writing and see where the story takes you. And seeing that it's you asking yourself, "What's next?" you'll be surprised how easily it is to tie in the other elements of the story you've been thinking about. Also, don't worry about the detail and don't even worry about it making sense, just get it written down.
     
  3. alejuf287
    Offline

    alejuf287 New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    What about bigger events, like war? Motives for war and such. Realistic but interpretable motives. Complex motives.

    I think my problem is that I want to skip all the basic stuff and get to the super awesome stuff. I guess I basically wanted to get a sense of what level of complexity I should start at. Should I push my limits and be ambitious, or write a simple but forced plot?
     
  4. indy5live
    Offline

    indy5live Active Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2012
    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Houston
    I'd still stick to the basic of the story just to get it out on paper, but since it is dealing with a larger event, start out by writing out who your characters are and what side of the war they are for, or if they aren't directly involved with the war, how does the war effect them. Once you know your characters and what they stand for, start the story with two of them talking (most likely about the war so the reader knows what's going on) and then go from there.

    Jim (Leader of the Ally) talks with Jeff (Captain of the fifth regiment) about the war. (Now what?) Jeff is order to take over a town in order to cut-off the enemies supply chain (K, is that achievable? Easily or easier said than done?) blah blah blah. Use little objectives to build up to the main objective. I follow the rule of thirds, so we have a large conflict (the war) but the first third is dealing with this small objective of cutting off the supply chain. Now we are ready to build the middle of the book. The enemies supplies have been cut-off or they met a larger resistant then intelligence suggested would be at the base (perhaps someone is spying).

    I don't know your story but I use this technique all the time just to get my mind flowing and the story going.
     
  5. killbill
    Offline

    killbill Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    where the mind is without fear...
    "overall, big-picture based meaning..." (I take this as the theme of the story) and philosophy are all fine, but it is best when they remain as shadows to the main plot/character based story. Let the themes and philosophy be FELT by the readers after reading your story. The first and foremost priority of a story teller should be to TELL the story, which require you to have characters who are doing concrete actions. You can have your characters thinking and introspecting once in a while, but stitch them together with the actions relevant to the plot. But most of the time you should strive for "showing" what the character is thinking rather than just have him think. So you have a character who is oppose to the 'war on terror'. Don't give us his thoughts (lecture style) about the pros and cons of the US policy. Instead, may be you can have a decorated army officer as his relative. A thanksgiving dinner, somebody unwittingly switch on the TV and the news is showing scenes of war in Iraq. Comments start flying between the MC and the army officer. This scene can easily become a part of the plot (an important one perhaps) in which the MC ends up becoming a home grown terrorist.

    To sum up, don't try to evoke the theme of your story in every sentence, which I think is what you are doing. Come up with desires and goals of your character, which will give him/her motives. What are the things he would do to achieve his goals and what are the obstacles he faces? You can come up with so many concrete actions as answer to these questions and that should give you your plot. You don't have to write a separate chapter to let the readers know the theme; his goals, his actions to achieve the goal, the conflicts, and how the conflicts are resolved should bring out the theme to light.
     
  6. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Please read What is Plot Creation and Development?.

    A plot is a fundamental unit of story composition, consisting of an actor, a goal or objective, a motivation, and an opposition. The motivation is the force that propels the character toward the goal, and the opposition is the force that pushes the character away from the goal.

    Often the opposition is another plot. If the second plot's actor is different from that of the first, you have external conflict, otherwise you have internal conflict.

    A storyline is the chronology of events that comprise a story. It reports what happened and when. Plots help determine why events occur, although some events may occur without an explicit, plot induced cause.

    Plots interact within the story. As mentioned, one plot may be the opposition for another, but plots also overlay in parallel. With multiple characters, each typically has his or her own goals and motivations and oppositions, and the same character may also have more than one motivation for a particular goal, or multiple goals.

    The stronger the motivation and opposition, the more intense the plot is. If the story lacks interest, ramp up the intensity of the plots, or even add new plots to oppose the progress of the characters.
     
  7. alejuf287
    Offline

    alejuf287 New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ah very nice. This is exactly what I was looking for. A mechanic's eye view of how plot is supposed to work. Thanks!
     
  8. Gnarly
    Offline

    Gnarly Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    This I found to be so helpful so thank you Indy, for helping someone who didn't even ask the question. Very simple and to the point.
     

Share This Page