1. Toomanypens
    Offline

    Toomanypens Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    24

    No one should care but... Here is my plot and its problem

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Toomanypens, Dec 31, 2015.

    I thought it could be interesting for you to see into the plot I'm dealing with right now and stretch some mental muscles by seeing what I'm doing wrong so far. I'm totally willing to hear your struggles too, so feel free to relate to this however you like.

    Ok, my story starts out on this quaint little farm, the protagonist is a baby/toddler being held over his mother's shoulder while she is upset at his father and he reaches out to the beautiful world outside while he is being walked into this messier journey.
    The idea was to symbolise a feeling of how we prefer the wilderness to the lives we lead.
    Then we reveal that he's actually talking to a friend in a bar about it.

    The guy is working making french fries in a take out joint, he is partying every weekend, and he is heartbroken but trooping on through the pain. Which at first seems pretty ordinary, except he is an ex-time traveller whom escaped the collapse of his alternate dimension, and it was a result of his technology that led to the end of his world.

    While you think it "just happened" it is actually 100 years later, because after the collapse of his world he spent a lifetime trying to repair it and in his rage and alcoholism, he refused to let himself die as the destroyer of a universe, and he found a brutal mechanism through which he could prolong his life and find one last hope to change what he had done.

    Aided by his AI assistant he has been searching for anomolies that suggest he had overlooked something and that a remnant still remains of his dimension through which he can bring it back. But right at the start of the story you find out that his search FAILS, and he wakes up at midnight and walks the street with a hipflask full of liquor. He begins screaming almost takes a drink and throws it down the street, collapsing in agony, fearing that he will NEVER by any means be able to reverse what he did.

    The idea of the story is about the wilderness we crave and the hole our life falls into and how both are connected somehow. So I made the character's backstory pretty intense to reflect the feelings of neglect we feel about our lives. It is an exaggerated, symbolic, and sci-fi-esque drama. It is a piece that is meant to give a window into the soul of grief, but in a light hearted and fantastical way. Who doesn't want to learn about cheating death, travelling through time, and how to create space travel, while at the same time having a laugh.

    The character is funny because he is honest, and he has no regard for most social limitations, yet hangs around ordinary people, and lives an ordinary life. In secret he is a sad man, but in public he is cunning and insightful and doesn't miss a beat.


    So there I am with this character and this intro sequence all fleshed out, but I can't figure out a respectful path for the story to take. Should I make him live a normal life, should I have him travel through time again, should I go into his past, or should I create a startling and unexpected future?

    I am asking myself the question from the audience's perspective, "what story direction is most satisfying for this character?". I know I want it to be funny, I know I want the drama to stand out, I know I want the sci-fi element to maintain some mystery, but I'm not actually sure what happens to this guy.

    As a reader of fiction stories myself, I love subtle stories about real growth, and I do not mind at all if the accomplishments of a plot is small so long as the character draws me into their world and makes me feel like I can relate. I'm struggling to find his story, but I really want to hear what he has to say about life because I think his honesty will uproot things many readers bury within themselves, and if I can get them to laugh, and to acknowledge deep feelings, I think I've got a book I can approve of to my friends to go check out (my standard).

    Problem is the character has me all emotional and now I can't see his story!!!
    He needs a plot, so he can tell his story unbothered by the millions of roads it could be taken.

    Which story is going to be the right one?

    ;)

    That's the problem. I have a cool premise but I get emotions that obscure the plot this should have if the audience is to really enjoy it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
  2. KaTrian
    Offline

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    5,566
    Likes Received:
    3,563
    Location:
    The Great Swamp
    Okay, three things come to mind after having read this.

    1) To get started, it would be a good idea to come up with a goal or several amd, tied to that, you need conflict. Decide what his "mission" is (every protagonist in every book has a mission, be it to forget their past mistakes, to save the princess, or find true love). Then come up with the obstacles and conflict he has to deal with in order to attain his goals.

    2) Forget what your readers want. You don't have any readers right now, except yourself. The story has to satisfy you first, otherwise you won't be able to stand behind it or feel proud of it after it's done. Tell the kind of adventure you like, you'd want to read about, containing elements that inspire and elate you.

    3) Find your character's development arc. Example: he starts as a cynical alcoholic. Where do you want him to be at the end of the story? Example: he is no longer an alcoholic and he's learned it's okay to be optimistic. Now decide what has to happen in order for him to develop to that point.

    That's probably not super helpful, but I do know the feeling of getting stuck with a premise. It's like you have this freight plane pregnant with all kinds of marvellous things, but it just won't take off and soar, or if it does, it'll be flying in circles until it crashes and burns... Ugh, I'm not great at analogies, but that's how it's been with me. Oh, and what has also helped is forgetting what kind of impression I want to make with my writing. It's most likely not going to be what I wanted anyway, so I just write about things that interest and inspire me; embark on an adventure of my dreams, really. Except with more blood and gore I'd be willing to stomach in real life. :ohno:
     
    Link the Writer and Toomanypens like this.
  3. stormr
    Offline

    stormr Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2013
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    plainwell, mi
    I think you have a pretty good idea for a story, and with quite a few different routes you can take. As far as us saying which one is correct won't really help much. But I can give a little thought on what I would do with those ideas you put out there. Now one thing is that if it's a hundred years after he accidentally destroyed his own planet and is here on ours, is it safe to assume he's nearly an immortal?

    If that's true, and you said it's more of a comedy. Then I would probably have him live out a loner existence here while he's trying to figure out what went wrong, keeping the alcoholism (maybe it helps him think). And basically figure out what went wrong and accidentally figure the fix while the same scenario starts to happen to our world.
     
    Toomanypens likes this.
  4. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,210
    Likes Received:
    4,222
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    You just took the words out of my mind, I was going to say something like this.

    I'm not sure who coined it, but I believe @ChickenFreak had a method where a character's motivation could be boiled down to the X, Y, and Z.

    X- What does the character want.

    Y- How does he/she get it?

    Z- Why does he/she think this is a good idea/will benefit the word at large?

    Just thought I'd throw that out there, @Toomanypens . :p :D
     
  5. Toomanypens
    Offline

    Toomanypens Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    24
    Cool,
    Thats similar to what I started writing,
    I decided that he'd never willingly be a hero, so I made someone find him and drag him into the same situation again,
    with the intention of him accidentally discovering in the end that he wasn't really at fault for destroying his world, which THEN turns him into a hero because he realises he can stop it happening to other worlds.

    I decided that to get it going he'd meet this pesky girl that brings drama right to his front door and he gets beat up in a fight, revealled to have bionic parts to his friends and forced to reveal his true identity, and save the world.

    Its a little murky in my head but I agree with that general direction, I'm glad you saw a similar route
     
  6. stormr
    Offline

    stormr Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2013
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    plainwell, mi
    I guess we seem to have similar ideas :) I like the addition of a pesky girl and the bionic parts ideas.
     
    Toomanypens likes this.
  7. Toomanypens
    Offline

    Toomanypens Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    24
    I am thinking of creating a familiar dystopia, a world like ours but where corporations are becoming more influential than the government, and people's desires and greed lead to an underworld of frightening technology that is being positioned to "rid their pains" (through discrimination, seething tyrany and bigotry).

    I kind of want the plot arc to show an emotional side to an otherwise closed off man, and I want to show how he handles a deep reservoir of hatred and pain. I figure the fact he is part bionic can reveal to the supporting characters that he deserving of "awe" (when originally they have no idea and he would never tell them otherwise).

    The idea is maybe that even a guy as closed off and in pain as he is can still be good, and he shows that people seek power to avoid the truth of who they are and its downsides.

    The girl is a scientist, hired by this underworld (though she does not know it), and in a random bar conversation the MC says something while drunk because he is annoyed by her "being wrong". Her enthusiasm and naivety about her job in technology just gets to him and out slips an equation that leads her to discover something unexpected and she tries to track him down. He eventually relents to talking to her once he believes his world is truly gone forever.

    They talk, and he realises that she is going to follow his path if she doesn't stop, and it ropes him in. He wants to rest, think about it, and be smart, but they come after her right after the conversation. He puts up a fight but gets his arm and part of his face beaten enough that his bionics show. They escape with the girl, but the other supporting character, asks the MC what is going on.

    The MC then faces a choice... Leave her to die or be manipulated.
    Or to make some enemies.
     
  8. stormr
    Offline

    stormr Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2013
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    plainwell, mi
    sounds intriguing.
     

Share This Page