1. Jaykoby
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    Jaykoby New Member

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    Need advice on cutting down humongous plot.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Jaykoby, Sep 16, 2010.

    I have finally begun writing my favorite plot idea. However, over time it has become far larger and intricate than I think I can manage. If I wanted to write the whole thing I would be looking at something Dark Tower sized and I'm simply not willing to write that much for one series. Any advice on how to cut down plot without taking away from the overall feel or ultimate goal? I can provide a basic synopsis if necessary.
    The story is a adventure/thriller about a skilled group of people desperately trying to keep the multiverse from collapsing due to discrepancies in its pattern and the interference of others. However, keep in mind that is only the set up for the plot and the story changes setting multiple times.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    First off, a plot is inherently simple. It consists of an actor, a goal or objective, a motivation, and an opposition. One or more plots drives a storyline, which is a chronology of events. See What is Plot Creation and Development?.

    Identify your core plots, and the most important subplots. Then start cutting away unnecessary subplots. This will simplify your story yet still leave the necessary depth.
     
  3. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or if you've thrown in too many complications, eliminate some of them. I mean, with a simple premise you've explained to us in one sentence, the obvious question is "How do they do that then?" and then you write your one sentence saying "this is how they stop the multiverse collapsing" and everything else is just cheese and biscuits along the way. :p

    I know exactly what you're going through - I think I've got the same problem with my current pet project that I only started on a whim and therefore didn't plan properly until just now, after 50,000 words and 1/5 of the way through everything I need to tell. :p I'm, however, taking the route that I should write it all and trim down only after. I never know what of my own earlier words I might utilise, even with it plotted, and it's better for my way of writing to keep it all in until it's over, and then see what needs to go.

    Honestly, I think not making the effort to write it all anyway could hinder you, if you don't explore a lot of possibilities you might not even use, but I am a packrat and lover of clutter in real life and in fiction, so that's just an opinion. :p
     
  4. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds you might as well overworked that plot beyond saving. It not only bad, i probably given in lot of practice in crating stories, but I would drop that project, for now and start over fresh with a new story.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would write it and then cut it back, I had loads of extras and even finished my final draft in the middle, I put my things in different orders. Don't expect much from your first draft if you like the plot don't give up on it. I wrote over 200,000 words to get my 50,000 ish.
     
  6. Sang Hee
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    Sang Hee Contributing Member

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    When my plot starts getting too big and messy I just scrap the whole thing and start over. It works the best for me and it actually happens quite often always with rather positive results. Maybe it would work for you too because if you make something complicated and then start messing with it you might make even bigger mess.
     
  7. Horizon Noise
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    Horizon Noise Member

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    Summarise the plot into a single sentence and anything in your story that doesn't further that specific plot, cut out. It's similar to what happens in business where management compare goals and initiatives against the mission statement.
     
  8. TobiasJames
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    TobiasJames Contributing Member

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    What he said. Burn away anything that is not necessary to the development of the plot, or anything that is causing you headaches in how to "clean up after". You's be better off cutting it completely and killing the problem at its source.

    This may mean removing hours of your own work, or axing some scenes that you really enjoyed writing, but the story will be better for it.
     
  9. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it's still too long after that, start the story later on. If you've got chapters on how all the group members grow up, train themselves to become good at whatever they're good at, and then get everyone together before embarking on the mission, then cut all that out. Start with the group on the move. You can always have the characters refer back to the rich backstory in various (brief) ways along the way.
     
  10. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I've chosen to tell stories out of order because chronologically it could have all worked, but I would have had to spend so much time saying, "and then three months passed while all the characters weren't around, and then they came back again, but they just kinda hung out and nothing dramatic happened.".... I opted for flashbacks from the last point where the action was, so there was absolutely no need for time skips in the chronologically-told main story. Which is 4 days versus a year and 3 months of backstory the characters built up that I could have started with. :p
     

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