1. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    One Big Conflict

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by JTheGreat, Jul 21, 2010.

    I've spent many, many months thinking about my story. If have most main characters worked out, as well as subplots, and setting.

    I've started writing it, but I realized something. My plot is too bland. Ugh. It's like, when you have oatmeal in the morning, but there's not enough cinnamon, so it's just beige mush. No one I know likes beige mush.

    My premise is set at a school for noble kids with psychic powers. The conflict I've had is between a young emperor and a prince; the emperor is engages to the prince's younger sister, and if the prince should perish the emperor would have control of the kingdom. The prince goes to the school, but the emperor is privately taught.

    The problem is, is that I think that even though that arc spans the entire story, it's not big enough to be the main conflict.

    From reading this, my question is, would you think so too? Maybe I'm overthinking things. The first book in Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small quartet has the sole plot of Kel's trying to get through the year, but it's still suspensful and interesting.
     
  2. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    If that's the entirety of the main plot, it sounds bland. But why should it be? Spice it up.

    Does the prince's younger sister want to marry the emperor?

    If not, maybe she can go into hiding and force both her brother and the emperor to search for her - across the subplots and sub-arcs.

    Or does she want to marry him? If so, why? Love, money or power? Does she try to get what she wants before marriage? Does she secretly meet the emperor behind her brother's back? Does he suspect it?
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sounds to me like it's plenty for the main conflict. It depends on the personalities of the characters, the political background, who gains what if who's in power, etc. There's a thousand terrific stories you could tell with this basic setup. You don't even need the psychic powers. Judging from what you've said here, if I were writing it, I'd probably get rid of the psychic powers and just let the drama play out, because there's plenty in there as it is.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A story concept means nothing. I can tell you now, it has all been done before. What matters is how you write it, the characterization, the flow, the imagery, all of it.

    There's no benefit in asking what other people think of the concept! They'll either say,"Sounds great," or, "it sounds like a ripoff of..."

    If the idea stirs you, write it. Then ask people what they think of the final story. After they tell you what they don't like about it, revise it, usually several times, until you're happy with it or until you throw up your hands and say the hell with it.

    Please read this thread about What is Plot Creation and Development?

    If you feel the plot(s) are too bland, turn up the conflict. Add more obstacles, and/or increase the characters' motivations. Don't overlook time pressure as an obstacle - if the goal is not attained within a fixed time limit, it's unattainable.

    Make sure you understand the difference between storyline and plot -- see the link above.
     
  5. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    The thing is, the princess is in on the scheme. She's a trusted clairvoyant, and she helps her fiance by feeding false visions to her brother. Not because she's evil. She believes that the emperor is the only source of love and warmth in her otherwise cold, analytical life. In the end, she gets a vision of the emperor's impending doom, not warning him. She realizes that even if she loves him, it's her obligation to love her country more.
     
  6. nickbedford
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    nickbedford Member

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    I think Cogito needs a "A story concept means nothing" auto-response robot :p
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Needs one? Dude, he has one.
     

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