1. Gammer
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    Gammer Active Member

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    Need Help with Plotting

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Gammer, Sep 22, 2011.

    I came up with an idea for a new story. It's called "Beach Week" which is right after High School graduation a good portion of the graduating class goes down to the beach for week celebrate as a "last hurrah" before they all go their separate ways for college.

    The Main Character is James Tyler, a straight arrow type, straight A's and all that stuff, never really had much of an experience. His football player friend (who is just as smart as him), Travis invites him to beach week, and the whole story is basically all the crazy stuff that happens to them during the course of that week.

    And I'm just struggling with the order of events and where when major things should happen. One major event is James getting drunk for the first time and getting to the point where he hurls on a girl he's always had a crush on. And another event is James and Travis end up in jail after a fight at a party, and Travis opens up that he's always envied James for having parents who actually care about him. And when James's parents show up, they can't even recognize him.

    This is basically my first "teen" centered story. (I do mostly fantasy), so I'm wonder what the general plotting format is for this kind of story.

    So any help would be great.
     
  2. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    1. Beach week? Seriously? Is that a real thing? I mean, here in Australia, we've got Schoolies Week, which is at least a cool name. "Beach week" is just a bit, well, weak.

    2. I'd say the drunkenness would be on the first night. The conversation in jail sounds like the kind of thing that would happen over the fifth and sixth day (as in sixth morning while they're in jail, the party being the night before).

    3. The plotting "format" is the same as any other story. See the Wikipedia page on Dramatic Structure. It goes Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Denouement.
     
  3. Gammer
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    Gammer Active Member

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    1.) Yep it's really called "Beach Week" some people call it "Senior Week" but whatever they call it's still the same idea. Plus it's not an official event or anything, it's something high schoolers do around here and the name I guess just stuck.

    2.) I do like those ideas thanks.

    3.) I'm aware of dramatic structure, I just really need help with what certain events would fall under. Like, what would constitute the climax for this kind of story? I know the climax is when everything comes to a head, but for a story like this what kind of event would that be?
     
  4. MarmaladeQueen
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    MarmaladeQueen Senior Member

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    What do people do who don't live near the sea?
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Forgive me for being rude, but do you reeally have a story if you don't even know how the story would move, and that your "story" has no goal? A story tries to tell people something - either for sole entertainment value or something deeper. Which one is it for yours?

    The typical theme for a book like yours is probably growing up, finding yourself (though I never worked out what that is), figuring out what you believe in, what you want in life, what matters to you. How old are you? Why don't you look back on your life and see how you've grown up - what were the "climaxes" of your life? Which events changed you, morphed you, made you think, made you grow, made you cry and laugh and fall in love? Why?

    If your James character is a straight and narrow type - why is he on Beach Week? I'm the same type, as it were - I've never got drunk, not even at uni - my friends weren't the party-goer types (we were the RPG types haha) and I grew up in church. Some of my closest friends are Christians. And when I was at uni, I didn't go to my graduation ball mostly because I know people are just there to get drunk, dance to booming loud music with a small sport of gambling, it having a casino theme and all. Knowing all this, I chose not to go. Your James must know this - he must know what Beach Week is about (or at least, what he thinks it's about, he must have his own prejudices) - so I'm asking, why would he even agree to go? And when he goes, why would he agree to get drunk? Was it with his consent, or was it more like peer pressure where a friend keeps buying him drinks so he feels obliged to drink? And if it's peer pressure, would he regret it the next morning or not?

    You say he doesn't have much "experience" - what experience? Getting drunk, getting girls, letting go, partying? Do you want to write about what a teenager discovers (and in the end, he must conclude for himself, whether he likes what he discovered and whether he will continue that way, or go back to what he was, or a mixture of both, and is this necessarily for better or for worse?) You need to first decide for yourself what kind of values you want to be promoting in your book - have you not lived unless you've been drunk? Unless you've had sex? Now decide on your values, and you will have yourself a climax - it needs to be something that makes James think and preferably regret something, or lose something that he valued. But that something will only come if you decide on what it is you wanted James to discover in the first place by going on Beach Week.

    PS. there's a beautiful movie by Miyazaki called Whisper of the Heart. It's a Japanese anime centered around a little 12-year-old's struggles in school and struggles with finding her dream, and it is very true, very sincere, and very real. The film centers around the girl, who decides that she must have a goal in life but as yet was unsure what that was. She decides to write a book, her very first novel, and though goes to school, she ceases to pay attention, ceases to care, because she is so dedicated to her dream - her goal of writing a book that nothing else matters. The climax is simply that she finishes her book. But it portrays her passion, her sincerity, and her immense personal, inner struggle and maturity so very well. I know it's not the right age for your novel, but the idea is the same - growing up. Miyazaki managed to make a very uneventful movie with a very mundane climax, if you like, into something beautiful - he managed to portray the immense mountainous achievement that it was to write a story. I'm just saying, your climax needn't be "dramatic" - real life-turning events, for most of us, aren't.

    I suppose that answers it - ask yourself, what do you want James to achieve?
     
  6. Hero-Jean629
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    Hero-Jean629 Member

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    You know not all books need to have a deeper meaning, to be quite honest I think it sounds pretty funny. If you perhaps give the characters a bit more to grow, I think it could be something worth reading for someone who wants a little amusement while reading.
     
  7. Gammer
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    Gammer Active Member

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    Definitely classify this story as "easy reading." Not really trying for a deeper meaning or a reflection life, just good over-the-top fun and humor.

    For those curious, James goes for the simple reason of curiosity. He's always hearing about adventures his friend Travis has when he drinks and during the graduation ceremony listing to everyone's great and funny stories, realizes that he hasn't done anything memorable during his time in High School. So he feels that Beach Week is his last chance to "go big." What he feels bad about is that to go requires him lying to his parents which is something he's never had to do before, and over the course of the week he does everything his parents told him not to do.

    And my problem is I have a series of events but not sure how to properly escalate them to the point of a good climax. James's dad coming to get him and Travis out of jail I feel would count, but I'm just not sure how to get there.
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're right, but if it doesn't have that at least it has to have a conflict of some kind, and from what I could tell by the description of this novel it didn't have any in particular, which i think is a bigger issue that the lack of deeper meaning.
     

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